Thanks to the magnanimity of PBS you can stream the original nine innings of Ken Burns Baseball.
Re-watching Baseball, I think that the best part comes in the “4th inning.” Not surprisingly, the subject is the 1924 Washington Senators and Walter Johnson. It’s great to see and hear the late, great Shirley Povich discussing the Series as well. The entire series is worth your time, but if I you can to skip ahead, go to 1:08:50:
On April 15, 1924, an undemonstrative President Calvin Coolidge threw out the first ball in Griffith Stadium to the Senators aging pitcher Walter Johnson. Neither Johnson, nor Washington’s fans knew what glories lay ahead at the end of the season…
“The next day, Walter Johnson led the victory parade up Pennsylvania Avenue up to the White House. A close observer, wrote Grantland Rice, reported the vocal cords of Mr. Coolidge twitched. Washington had never won a championship before and would never win another…”
When John Chancellor said “would never win another” I just started grinning. His narration is now as obsolete as it was elegant.
The glories laid behind at the end of last season are a joyful recollection during this difficult time. Last October was an enthralling month of baseball deliverance. Whether we shared it with our spouse, our kids or even parents if they were still around, we saw it.
The long wait was over. After 15 seasons following the current incarnation, 33 missing seasons prior to that and another 47 seasons of coming up short, the nation’s capital had a parade for its baseball team.
Someday, sooner than later we hope, we’ll admire the defending champions in person. Until then, while we are still in our homes, we can live in that not so distant past again and again.
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