Saturday, January 22, 2022

Paradise By the Scoreboard's Light: The day Mr. Loaf came to Yankee Stadium and met The Scooter

It was long ago, and it was far away... the first time I heard  Phil Rizzuto's allegorical play-by-play in "Paradise By the Dashboard Light."  

Know how some world events are indelibly chiseled into our memories? We recall hearing about JFK's assassination, or watching Lawrence Taylor break Joe Theisman's leg. For me, Paradise is one such moment.

I was a VISTA volunteer in Indianapolis, living on Meridian Street and  drinking in a bar once mentioned by Kurt Vonnegut. The song came on. I yelled for everybody to shut up, but nobody did. A friend said, "Haven't you heard Meat Loaf? Back where you live, he's the toast of the town!"

(They equated upstate New York with street-level Harlem, and, though it was plainly ridiculous, I believed that it elevated my status, so I let them. Yeesh, I was hopeless...) 

Well, today, after 24 hours of Bat Out of Hell on REPEAT, I believe Meat Loaf deserves recognition as one of the great Yankee fans of our generation. And here is a way to remember him...

A couple notes:

1. No, the NY Times did not call him "Mr. Loaf" on second reference. They could have. Maybe they should have. But that legend is false. Where is Snopes?

2. If Phil was truly shocked and angry about the meaning of his play-by-play call, he certainly didn't harbor a grudge. 

I use a sliding scale to rate Yankee fans. At the low end are the Hillary Clintons, who claim to root for the team as a way to advance.  

Then come the Fair Weatherers, who show up for the victory parades. They know there is a player named "Judge," but they think he was recently fired.  

There are the Passionates, who follow because of Mickey Mantle or Derek Jeter, or maybe because their dad or mom - or a favorite uncle - loved the Yankees. God bless them. 

There are the readers of IT IS HIGH - greatest Yank fans on earth, but for one supreme tier. 

There is the Anonymous fan who once put the nails on Ed Whitson's driveway. Whoever he/she is, wherever he/she is, they shall always reign. 

If I ever get to Monument Park, I will scatter some nails.

I recall hearing that Meat Loaf once claimed he wanted his ashes someday scattered in Yankee Stadium. Generally, this is just something people say and don't mean. (I tell folks I want my body donated to needy necrophiliacs.) I doubt it will happen. But he did meet the Scooter, and he did take batting practice.

Two out a three aint bad. 

Farewell, Mr. Loaf. 


Carl J. Weitz said...


"Rizzuto recorded his lines in 1976, in a studio at Manhattan's The Hit Factory. His first take was stilted and flat, but Meat Loaf advised him to “just do it like it's a game.” Meat Loaf provided an image to work off, sliding into pizza box “bases” on the floor, and Rizzuto's subsequent takes were album-ready."

Duque....I bet no one has ever said this to you but it is just as apropos as if you were a former GI: Thank you for your service!

I almost became a VISTA volunteer at 22. I went through the process and they wanted to send me to some God-forsaken place way south of the Mason-Dixon Line but can't remember where. I demurred. Looking back, it was a bad and perhaps selfish decision. Had they offered to send me somewhere up north, I would have accepted.

The Archangel said...

El D, a VISTA volunteer?
What is the back story?
Did you get arrested for a felony and they gave you a choice of jail or "volunteering'?

The misguided vision of the East Coast elites behind VISTA to believe that Indy needed help while the Bronx was literally burning and the Crucible was the prominent Syracuse landmark is funny.

Anyhow, your point on the degree of Yankee fans is spot on.

While we reminisce about music, the two greatest music videos of all time, which can still be seen on YOUTUBE today are ;

Bat out of Hell from his concert around 1978 and,
Free Bird recorded live at the Oakland Coli in July 1970 something (I forget the year).

Next time you need a lift and are on your 3rd adult beverage of choice crank those two on back to back and rock away.
Despite what Don McClean,(Sp?) said the day that music died was the first day Flock of Seagulls played.

Carl J. Weitz said...

Archangel....Back in time, VISTA and the Peace Corps were the 2 places a person could serve a greater good. Sure, there were likely church missions one could sign up for but the above two were non-sectarian and fulfilled some need for esprit de corps without dodging bullets in a 110F southeast Asian jungle. I never thought those organizations were the product of misguided elites or liberals. Certainly no more far fetched than the Catholic church wanting to save the souls of barefoot African tribesman. Remember, it was the dawn of the Age of Aquarius. Many thought they could truly save the world. How naïve, eh?

el duque said...

VISTA roots: I was working at a radio station in Binghamton, interviewing a VISTA recruiter. I got psyched about it and told him on-air that I would join. So I did.

Stupid, but true.

Carl J. Weitz said...

You don't seem that impulsive, Duque. But funny story. And you got paid more with VISTA! LOL

Alphonso said... were right, however, not to go south of the Mason Dixon line. No one should do it now.

As for Mr. Loaf; He did get his wish.

As a vehement anti-vaxxer and anti-masker and anti- social distancer, he said " I would rather die than be mandated s to what I should do."

And he died of Covid.


I hope to die in my sleep high on magic mushroms.

Rufus T. Firefly said...

Boy I miss the Scooter. And Mr. Loaf. I believe it was David Letterman, back when he was funny, who called him that on air. Or it was the acid.

I think I'll watch Rocky Horror tonight.

DickAllen said...

As long as you're ranking Yankees fans put that asshat Rudy Giuliani at the bottom of the list. In fact, the Clintons should be standing on his shoulders.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Oh, Archie! "East Coast elites"? Spare us your cliches. I'm sure there were plenty of VISTA volunteers in the Bronx and elsewhere.

That and the Peace Corps were pretty good ideas, a way to let young people see parts of the world and the country other than their own, and do something useful.

We could use this today. I wouldn't mind seeing us restore a military draft, but even if we do, we're not going to need (or want) that many troops. Large numbers of young men and women could put in a couple years doing badly needed stuff—everything from rebuilding derelict neighborhoods to taking care of the old and infirm.

In return, they could draw on a GI Bill for everyone: get college money or mortgage discounts, or just plain cash. It could be a way to rebuild a social covenant.

You can send your campaign contribution today, c/o El Duque.

The Archangel said...

HC 66,
Liberals are so easy to tweak.

But your suggestion is interesting, but totally untenable.
The young people today would never stand for that kind of manual labor.
Plus, Who is going monitor this?
And who who pick what would be "rebuilt"?
And would you pay the kids while they work?

Peace Corp and VISTA were failures, or we would still have them today.
They certainly did not end the problems they were supposed to solve.

Perhaps you are correct through cuz the neighboring county is a Sanctuary County, so the Peace Corp does exist

Doug K. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DickAllen said...

I suspect The Archangel may actually be the new handle for ALLCAPS

Carl J. Weitz said...

Arch...There was no greater failure in my lifetime than the Vietnam war. Unless you include the hiring of Brian Cashman.

I wonder if you would have considered Amsterdam a Sanctuary City in the 1940's.

HoraceClarke66 said...

It's been done before, Archie—the CCC, which got thousands and thousands of kids off the road, gave 'ed three square meals a day, a little money to send back to the parents, and taught them something about live outdoors. Not to mention teaching both them and the army officers in charge of them a lot of things they'd need in WW II.

There's plenty of stuff that's pretty obvious to do. Not to mention just caretaking. I suspect most of us here have dealt with an aged, suffering parent. The demands in time alone are incredible, making it difficult to make a living while you're doing it. And what about elderly people without kids?

HoraceClarke66 said...

Incidentally, the Peace Corps IS still around, and VISTA is now AmeriCorps VISTA.

What were they supposed to accomplish? Well, among other things, getting Americans out there to work with and learn from each other—and the same, in those Cold War days, with people in other countries.

But that aside, Archie, I'm impressed by your optimism that everything that works, remains. If that were so, I think the original Yankee Stadium would still be standing, and batters would still know how to go to the opposite field, among many, many other things...