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Baseball Is In My DNA
By Bob Ringwald

April 1, 2013
 

Baseball is in my DNA. My great great uncle by marriage played for one of the big league teams back in the 1880s.

My grandfather was shipped out to the San Francisco Bay area from Denver to play for Oakland when the PCL (Pacific Coast League) was first formed in 1906. When I was a kid in the early 50s, he used to take me to the Sacramento Solon games. Sacramento was also in the PCL.

My uncle played ball, managed a team and was the catcher in World War II in the Pacific. He had Jerry Staily as a pitcher. Jerry went on to have a 20 year career in the big leagues.

In 1958 When the New York Giants moved to San Francisco and became the San Francisco Giants, I quickly became a Giant fan. I was at a game at Candlestick park the day that Willie Mayes hit 4-home runs. Having been blind since the age of approximately 10 or 12, thus not being able to see the ball leave the bat, nor see it go over the wall, it was still an incredible and thrilling experience to be in the stands when this event, which will forever live in baseball history happened.

Later, in the mid 60’s and 70’s, after Willie Mayes left the Giants, I was working 6 and 7-nights a week as a musician, supporting a wife and 3-children and had no time to follow baseball.

After moving to Los Angeles in 1979, I decided to listen to a Giants – Dodgers game. While I found that I no longer had an emotional attachment to the Giants, Vince Scully, the amazing Dodger play by play announcer was the best I had ever heard. After listening to a few games, largely due to Vince Scully I became a died in the wool Dodger fan. I still remain so even after moving back to Northern California some 18 years ago. I bleed Dodger Blue!

While the Dodgers are not heard on the radio this far north in Sacramento, I am able to listen to the games using my computer on MLB dot com. Incidentally, as of this 2013/14 baseball season, Vince Scully is in his 64th year of broadcasting Dodger baseball.

When I lived in Tinsel Town, I went to many games. The Dodgers had a promotion in which you were to write in and name the job you would like to do, such as hang with the ground crew and drag the base path at the 7th inning, sit with the sports writers and write your own story, hang out with the umpires and many other things.

I wrote a letter saying that I wanted to be the Fantasy Public Address Announcer. Out of the thousands of letters that must have been sent in, I was selected.

On July 27, 1991 I announced the lineup for the Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Montreal Expos game with 55,000 people in the stands. On my web site there is a picture of me on the field with my daughter Beth standing to my left and slightly behind. In the same picture you can see me on the huge Diamond-Vision screen reading the lineup in Braille.

After announcing the lineup, I was invited to sit with the P. A. announcer in the Dodger Stadium Press Box. From there I announced the players as they came up to bat in the bottom of the 3rd inning.

While the Dodgers were staging a rally, With men on base Darrell Strawberry came up to bat. I put a little extra English on my announcement of Strawberry’s name and 55,000 people went crazy. What a feeling of power…

Another time I was invited to tour Dodger Stadium. I went out onto the field to see what the home plate, pitcher’s mound, bases, base path, felt like. I jumped up against the center field Wall like a big league outfielder.

I went into the bull pen and saw the phone that is used to communicate between the dugout and bull pen.

I saw the giant tarps that are rolled out on to the playing field when it rains.

I then went into the Dodger dugout and saw the famous drinking fountain that the players sometimes destroy when they are angry.

I saw the huge traveling trunks in which their equipment is shipped when the Dodgers are on the road.

In the press box I had the honor to actually sit in the chair that Vince Scully sits in when broadcasting the games on radio and TV. There is a picture of me sitting there, on my web site.

I ended my tour in the Dodger exercise room where the legendary Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda was on the tread mill. I was able to have a very interesting chat with him. He is a great story teller and one of the true characters in baseball.

In the early 80s, my daughter, the actress Molly Ringwald, sang the National Anthem at several Dodger games. At one game, Fernando Valenzuela gave her a signed baseball. At another game the team gave her a baseball signed by all of the 1981 World Series Championship Dodgers. I proudly display those balls in my office today.

From time to time people have asked me, “If you can’t see the action, why would you want to go to the game when you could just as easily be at home listening to it on the radio?”

I sometimes answer by saying “Why would you want to go to the game when you can see the action better, close up, at home on TV?

Of course I take a portable radio to the game to hear the play by play. But there is something more. There is the electricity of the crowd, the sound of the ball hitting the bat and mitt, the P.A. announcer, the venders selling programs, ice-cream, peanuts and other assorted goodies. And of course at Dodger Stadium there are the famous Dodger Dogs. Dodger Dogs are just regular Farmer John hot dogs. But, once you walk through the turn styles of the ball park, they become a gourmet repast.

Care to guess where I was on April 1, 2013? Yes . . . . I was 400 miles south of Placerville California, attending the Dodgers VS Giants opening day game at Dodger Stadium. Care to take a guess for whom I was rooting???

-30-

Bob Ringwald
April 1, 2013


Bob Ringwald is a professional musician (who, as he says, "just happens to be blind"), a licensed Amateur (ham) Radio operator, owner of a vending machine business, father of the actress, best-selling author and Concord Records Recording Artist Molly Ringwald and an avid Los Angeles Dodger fan.