You all know about Jeremy Hazelbaker because I told you about him and his Wonderful Odyssey last week… LINK. Guess what? IT GOT BETTER!
Recapping, ten days ago Jeremy Hazelbaker figured he was headed back to Memphis and The Cardinals’ AAA team for year eight of his ignominious pro baseball career…. and another 150 or so games “in the minors”. It had been a blast being “with the big leaguers” in Spring Training but he knew the roster math was not in his favor…. It would surely be back to very long bus rides, 2-star hotels and $25 meal money…. being “the old guy” at 28, on a roster of fuzzy-cheeked phenoms.
When Manager Mike (Metheny) told him ten days ago “you’re going North with the ballclub” it had to be about as good as it gets …. but OH BOY….“it” would get better…. muey better!. In seven years of “pro baseball” he had never worn an MLB uni much less run out of an MLB dugout or….. or….
“Living the dream”…. Jeremy saw action in both of the Cards’ first two series in Pittsburgh and in Atlanta and did really well hitting in the #2 spot behind Matt Carpenter. Wearing “The Birds on The Bat” greys and getting real-live MLB at-bats…. AND THEN:
Monday was Opening Day in St Louis. Ever MLB club, of course, has an opening day…. but, with all due respect, NONE of’em DO IT Like St Louis does Opening Day each Spring.
The Clydesdales…. “The Arch” Rising High Beyond Centerfield…. each player riding out in a Cardinals Red pick’em-up truck/float…. The whole Wonderful KMOX-lovin’ corny Middle America, Fly-Over-Country Shebang…. Ted Drew’s Custard …. Budweiser …. Stan and Red and Enos and Marty and Dizzy and Gibby and Tim and Ozzie and Lou and Whitey and Tony and Jack Buck and (yes) Albert and (yes) McGwire and Freese’s walk-off in Game Six and Yadi and FredBird and those 48,000+ pouring out Love for OUR Cardinals…
Now Jeremy Hazelbaker was wearing The Holy Vestment: “The Birds On The Bat” Home Whites. ..Goosebump City! Did I mention The Clydesdales? Yes, I did.
Jeremy Hazelbaker had to be thinking…. “Take me now Lord, ‘cause it canNOT get any better than this.”
Sitting high atop The Arch by the banks of the Mighty Mississippi, The Good Lord – with #6 StanTheMan at his left hand – just smiled and said “Ya wanna bet, Jeremy?”
In his very first game in Busch III amid all the hype & hoopla, with his folks on-hand from Muncie..
Jeremy Hazelbaker WENT FOUR-For-Freakin-FOUR !!!!
as the Cardinals Nuked The Brewers 10-1. Jeremy was an HR short of “the cycle” plus a diving catch in centerfield. Raising his batting average over .500 after eight games “in the big leagues”.
Who knows what next week, next month will bring? Maybe opposing pitchers will find his weakness …. low and away…. high and tight…. off-speed…. et al. Maybe Jeremy Hazelbaker will “wake up”; be back in Memphis or back home in Muncie this time next year “selling Lady Kenmores”. The Baseball Gods are fickle indeed.
Whatever. But for… NOOO BobLee. DON”T SAY IT. NOOO!
For One Shining Moment (Aaaarghh!)
Jeremy Hazelbaker of Muncie Indiana is Living The Dream of every tow-headed kid that:
…. ever played whiffle ball in his backyard.
…. ever played Strat-O-Matic Baseball on a rickety card table…. and
…. ever slept blissfully with his “ball glove” clutched to his chest.
Now I’m getting goosebumps too!
Cardinals ride Hazelbaker’s hot bat …..
NOTE: I am The Maytag Repairman of Sports Fans….. a very lonely type of fan. I can love “My Team – The St Louis Cardinals” – WITHOUT “Hating” any other team including The Cubs. My Ying of Love for My Cardinals does NOT need A Yang of Hate for _________.
Even before my official estrangement from my alma mater UNC-CH, I never “hated” Duke or NC State. That Ying-Yang combo has always seemed “dumb” to me. Of course “how you choose to do it” is your business.
Several Most Excellent QUIRKIES Await You ….