Searching For The Truth – VI. Wandering Thoughts

Published June 21, 2001 – Cameron Citizen-Observer

Dick Vermeil
Dick Vermeil

THIS JUST IN: Last Saturday, I officially became a part of the working press, attending my first professional game from the press box of Arrowhead Stadium.

OK, it was a Wizards game, so the professional label is questionable. Especially after watching a 16-year-old score two goals in less than 10 minutes. While one reporter tried to find out if Santino Quaranta could speak English (he’s from Baltimore), I got my first glimpse of Chiefs new head coach Dick Vermeil.

He walked into the press box with a quizzical smile on his face, looked around and left. I’m not sure if no one noticed or if they just didn’t care. Either way, I notice when an almost certain member of the NFL Hall of Fame walks into a room and that’s all that matters…

For the next two weeks, everyone is going to talk about the Lakers and how this is the beginning of a dynasty. At the start of training camp next year, I guarantee everyone is going to talk about Derek Fisher and how important he is. Just remember, he’s still Derek Fisher, an average at best point guard. Nothing more.

This past Saturday, the US National Soccer Team went down to Jamaica and left with an important draw. By the time this paper prints, they could be a win away from clinching a spot in the 2002 World Cup. This is, by far, the best US soccer team ever. I remember three years ago when they finished dead last in France and the USSF set a plan in motion, stating a goal of winning the World Cup in 2010. I remember laughing. It’s not quite so funny now.

Watching American Legion baseball games at the Parkview Baseball Complex this past weekend makes me wish I grew up in Cameron. Like I’ve said before, I played baseball in high school. My home field was 325 to left, 450 to center and 420 to right. Granted, we played on a rectangle, but if I played ball at CHS, I would strike out 50 percent of the time. There’s no way I’m not swinging for the fences every time up. The longest part of the field is 310 to straight away center field? This is no one person’s fault and the wheels to fix Field 4 have been set in motion. But if they need some oil, just watch an 18-year-old hit an opposite field home run 295 feet. That’s just ridiculous.

I’m just wondering, does it still hurt to see highlights from that MU-Nebraska football game? You know, the one that goes to overtime when the guy catches the ball off his feet? I know I disavow all knowledge of the 1989 NFC Divisional Playoff game between the Giants and the Rams. It’s like it never happened.

With the baseball season in full swing, I hate to bring up the fact that another work stoppage might be on the horizon. The labor agreement that ended the stupidity of 1994 ends this November and the two sides are as entrenched as ever. Commissioner Bud Selig has been criticized for the wild card and interleague play, but none of that will matter if the game stops again.

Benny Agbayani vs. The Yankees
Benny Agbayani vs. The Yankees

I will always love baseball, no matter what they do (unless that means introducing the DH in the National League). But the rest of the country was just coming back. To ruin that with another work stoppage is a thought that keeps me up at night.

I was this close to throwing away the season. It was Sunday night and the Mets were down 7-2 to those damn Yankees going into the bottom of the eighth. I had already turned the channel and had resorted to flipping between the game and 200 Cigarettes. Then, they started to remind me of my team – the team that never quits.

An error by Derek Jeter. A walk by Rey Ordonez. A clutch hit by Benny Agbayani. Tsuyoshi Shinjo nearly breaking his leg to keep the inning alive. Then Mike Piazza lost one into the Flushing night and all was right in the world. Armando ‘Smoke’ Benitez goes 1-2-3 in the ninth, then gets another save on Monday night.

I had forgotten they were 10 games out in August in 1973. But the same battle cry then is prevalent now: You Gotta Believe. Once again, I do believe and that’s the truth.

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