Monday, September 18, 2006

They don't write 'em like that anymore

Buried in a cardboard box among my memorabilia collection is a stack of old newspapers in protective sleeves. I call them my personal window to the past.

Among the newspapers in my possession is an issue of the Washington Star from October 2, 1932 - the day after Babe Ruth's "called shot" against the Cubs in the World Series.

There's no mention of Ruth calling his shot, but Grantland Rice's description of the day's events are spine-tingling. Examples:

"The battle carried action from the start. It sparkled with rare fielding plays like sunlight on morning frost in the harvest field".

"The big Babe was exchanging quip and jibe with the Cubs bench. And after each exchange the sunny atmosphere was full of sulphur".

But, the best was Rice's lede paragraphs:

"That far, echoing rumbling roar you must of heard yesterday afternoon was the old Yankee rock crusher rolling once more across the flattened, prostrate bodies of the Cubs. In the driver's seat were those two mighty men of baseball, Ruth and Gehrig, Babe and Lou, the dynamite twins".

"In the presence of 50,000 startled Cub rooters, this dynamic pair of slugging mastodons lit the fuse to four home runs with a fusillade that drove Charley Root from the field with his ears still ringing in the wake of a bombardment he will never forget".

"It was the drum beat leading the funeral march of Cub hopes. It was the tocsin sounding the coming of destruction of any Chicago dream".

In this ESPN-instant gratification age, stories aren't stories anymore. They're just information.

That's a shame.

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