When I got out of bed Monday, the Athletics and Tigers were getting ready to play a baseball game, in October, in broad daylight — or at least under a cloudy sky — in Detroit.
There was red, white and blue bunting hanging from the upper deck facade; the weather appeared cool and crisp.
Other than the scoreboard widget in the top left-hand corner of the screen and the one at the bottom, that said the broadcast was being brought to us by Geico, this was sort of like the old days.
“Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike!”
You could almost hear that crazy camel with the loud mouth talking.
“Guess what day IT is!”
In a few minutes there would a postseason baseball game played during daytime, on a Monday, on a school day. I wondered if the nuns at the Catholic schools in town would let kids bring their transistor radios — er, smartphones — to class, plug in the tiny earphones, and listen to a few innings.
Provided you didn’t goof off at Mass that morning, the nuns at my old school would look the other way when the World Series was on and you surreptitiously plugged in earphones — the sisters were baseball fans, too.
But if you goofed off in church, there was no way Sister Margaret Mary would let you listen to Bob Gibson pitch against Mickey Lolich. Not even if you wrote 500 times that you were sorry for goofing off in church, and recited 100 Acts of Contrition, and promised you would go to Lourdes on one of those religious retreats when you were old enough.
Some of the nuns I had in grade school were meaner than Bob Gibson and Don Drysdale with men on base.
Yes, there was television then, and we had one in the classroom, this old black and white Emerson made of mahogany that had a fuzzy speaker. But the only time the sisters let us watch TV was when there was something educational on or one of the Kennedys got shot.
So we mostly listened to the World Series on the radio.
They weren’t playoff games then. Wild cards were something in poker games. Not until 1969, when I was in fifth grade, were there playoffs, and that was the year the Miracle Mets overhauled the Cubs. We hated the Miracle Mets. We did not care to listen to Tom Seaver pitch against the Braves’ Phil Niekro or whomever.
We did not bring our transistor radios to school in 1969.
(On Monday, they wouldn’t have been much use, either. According to the radio/TV listings, neither the Athletics-Tigers game nor the Cardinals-Pirates were on the radio here, only Braves vs. Dodgers at night, which was on like 14 stations.)
While baseball purists generally abhor all these rounds of playoffs, like they have in hockey and the NBA, at least some of the games are played during the day, which is how the baseball gods intended it.
You still could play them all at night, one supposes, because there are a lot of cable and satellite channels, and the Food Network probably would love to host a playoff game. Even if it involved the Royals, or somebody like that. Because even if it were the Royals, people probably would watch, unless there was an NFL game on.
The reason they don’t show dueling baseball playoff games in prime time is because then the people in Kansas City and Overland Park and Lee’s Summit, if the Royals were playing on the Food Network, would not see the Viagra ad airing during the Dodgers game on TBS. And then Major League Baseball could not charge as much for a Viagra ad during the Dodgers game.
As long as the Viagra people are paying A-Rod-type money for prime-time ads, Major League Baseball does not care one whit about scheduling playoff games during daylight hours when school kids can see them, when utility infielders and long relievers don’t have to start bonfires in the dugout to stay warm.
I understand that, understand that baseball is a business and whatnot, and that playing ballgames at night is good for business, even when it is 34 degrees outside and a cold wind is blowing and utility infielders are stoking fires with old boxscores from The Sporting News.
But pro football is a business, too, and most pro football games are played on Sunday afternoon, and not all the teams have domed stadiums.
Somehow, the NFL still manages to eke out a profit.
Throwing a football around with your dad, however, is not the same as playing catch with your dad. It just isn’t.
Baseball played in October, during the day, reminds a lot of us of playing catch with our fathers after they came home from work. Or of writing 500 times “I will not goof off in church” when Bob Gibson was pitching against Mickey Lolich.
So after the Athletics beat the Tigers 6-3 on Monday, I switched to TBS where the Pirates were playing the Cardinals. It still was daytime in Pittsburgh, and the kid on the mound for St. Louis was working on a no-hitter.
He didn’t get it, but the weather appeared cool and crisp.
Las Vegas Review-Journal sports columnist Ron Kantowski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0352. Follow him on Twitter: @ronkantowski