Baseball season opens today. A couple weeks too early if you're a traditionalist as I am and, this season anyway, the weather agrees with me. It's 40-degrees and rainy in New York and they're predicting snow tomorrow, hardly baseball weather.
When my brother and I were little our world revolved around the Yankees. We didn't live all that far from the stadium, a fifteen minute drive if traffic was light and we had men like Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, Yogi Berra and Elston Howard to idolize. In those days things weren't licensed like they are today. So we made our own "Yankee" shirts. I think all my brother's t-shirts had a magic-marker written "7" on the back for Mantle and mine had "16," signifying Ford.
CBS, the television network owned the Yankees in those more civil pre-Steinbrenner days and on their New York station on opening day, they played the movie "Pride of the Yankees" starring Gary Cooper as Lou Gehrig and Teresa Wright as his beautiful and intelligent wife.
The problem was, CBS aired the movie at 9 and that was our bedtime. These were pre-VCR days. We were out of luck, but undaunted.
The next day we wrote a letter to CBS saying how unfair it was to play to movie past our bedtimes. A few days later we got a phone call from someone at the network. He invited us down to Black Rock, CBS's 6th Avenue headquarters for a private screening.
There, my brother and I sat on either side of an old film projector in a small projector room and watched the flick. A cigar-smoking projectionist would come in, say "hiya fellas" and change the reels every 30 minutes or so when they were done. They even gave us Yankee caps, a box of popcorn and a pepsi.