James at 15 premiered on NBC before my 10th birthday, but I was the kind of kid — I think a lot of us were — who craved TV that seemed more grown-up than I was. In fact, looking it up right now, I see that Soap premiered on ABC eight days later, and that might well have been the most controversial series of the 1970s, or at least since the debut of All in the Family. I remember watching a report about Soap on Eyewitness News earlier that evening, warning of the risqué material, but that didn’t keep me from watching the first episode that night. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it here before, but when we moved into our new house in Woodland Hills in late 1972, just as I was turning 5, the three Weisman kids each got their own bedrooms and their own TV sets. For real. Yes, we had it good.
Somehow, I had never seen this before, so I’m appreciative to Ken Levine for passing it along. From more than 50 years ago, it’s a Celebrity All-Star softball Game at Dodger Stadium, and as these things go, the rosters are impressive, with celebrities including Woody Allen, Peter Falk, James Garner, Robert Loggia, Ryan O’Neal and Dick Shawn, and active major leaguers like Roberto Clemente, Don Drysdale, Harmon Killebrew, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Brooks Robinson and Maury Wills (in his Pirates uniform). Leo Durocher and Milton Berle are the managers.
Throw in Vin Scully for the play-by-play (albeit with a rather lugubrious Jerry Lewis as his partner), and you’ve got yourself a ballgame.
It’s pretty clear that large swaths of the Los Angeles population — diverse in age, gender, class and ethnicity — have rejected wearing masks in proximity with others for reasons that have nothing to do with politics.
I’m not a sociologist, scientist or pollster, but I just have trouble believing that the high percentage of people in this town I’ve observed going without them, even as they cross well within range of other humans, are all doing so out of allegience to party or a party leader. There is something much more basic at play.
They say you can’t fight City Hall, but you also can’t fight the people who behave as they want in the face of so much reason to behave differently in a civil society.
I don’t know if there was anything I liked about working for the Dodgers more than the freedom to roam around the empty stadium. And so as wrong as it feels for there to be ballgames without fans, there’s something that makes me feel wistful about the idea of watching a game there without a crowd.
Jon SooHoo’s latest photographic gem, above, captures my feelings probably as well as anything I could write. But with the 2020 MLB season somehow about to begin, I thought I would share some not entirely random thoughts …
Over the weekend, I was fortunate enough to have a conversation for the Word to the Weisman podcast with Micah Johnson, the former Dodger who at the age of 29 has transformed into a full-time artist with growing success. He’s a really interesting guy, and I think you’ll enjoy our 30-minute chat about his unique career journey as well as his thoughts about the landmark year of 2020.
You can listen above, or find Word to the Weisman on your favorite podcast app.
This is a topic that is personal to my family, but I don’t think it’s unique.
Believe it or not, Young Miss Weisman, who was born three months after Dodger Thoughts was founded in 2002, is headed out of state to college this fall. At least, that’s what we thought a month ago.
The last time someone outside my family was in our house was March 13.
I remember the Dodgers.
I want to say something, but it’s less about the what than the why.
What I’m going to tell you won’t be anything you need to know. It goes back, as it always does, to this core dilemma: I have feelings, and I want them to be heard. I want them to be felt, even if they don’t matter.
What’s different now? Less distraction, maybe? I don’t have a commute. That is time I’ve filled with exercise — walks and short runs and sit-ups — rather than writing. But never not thinking.
What’s the same, but maybe more pronounced, are feelings of inadequacy. We are living through the singular event of my 52 years. How am I rising to the occasion? By following the best instructions for hiding.
I have one skill, which is to arrange words into thoughts, and I haven’t been using it. It doesn’t help that the Dodgers aren’t playing, but then again, the Dodgers aren’t relevant. It doesn’t help that I’m at the very, very beginning of turning the first draft of my novel into a second draft, and I’m feeling intimidated by the work.
I’m jealous of people who are producing. I’m jealous of people who are relevant. I’m a jealous person.
If I focus on my family, I’m fine. I’m grateful. I’m grounded. But my mind wanders, to very specific places.
We are living in a life or death world, and I don’t want to be silent.