Tail of the Weak 4.13
Updated: Jan 27, 2020
Tail of the Weak is a series of insights and musical memories from the mind of Uncle Dave Griffin, singer/songwriter and founder of the Annual Gram Parsons Guitar Pull and Tribute Festival, from Waycross, Georgia.
I'm a happy man. I have a lot to be grateful for—a family, a home, music gigs are coming in steadily. But, the reason I'm so happy today is that baseball season has officially begun. Games around the nation started up this past Thursday and will continue through Spring, the long, hot days of Summer, and into the cool nights of October.
I've always loved the sport, more so than any other. We played it a lot in James Cocke's backyard pasture next door to my house on Doghill. I even played in an organized league on MacDill Air Force Base in 1966, playing first base and leading my Cubs team in Runs Batted In.
It was in the early months of 1966 that Daddy took me and brother Gary to a St. Louis Cardinals Spring Training game at St. Petersburg's Al Lang Field. I remember standing just outside the fence on the first base side when a batter popped a foul ball high into the Florida Gulf Coast air and watched amazed as the professional in uniform ran toward me, his eyes on the tiny rawhide sphere above us, stopped, and hauled it in for an easy out.
In 1994, I bought tickets to an Atlanta Braves exhibition game at the West Palm Beach Municipal Stadium, surprising my daughter Megan for her 11th birthday. After the game, we stood outside the clubhouse and nearly got ran over by Javy Lopez and Greg Maddux, who wanted no part of the signature hallmark between fans and idols—the autograph.
Sometime in the 2000s, my band Rhythm Oil played a wedding reception in Moultrie, Georgia. Jeff Francoeur, former Atlanta Baby Brave and one of the groom's best friends, was there. During “Brickhouse” by the Commodores, he jumped onstage, snatched from my hand the tambourine, and beat it mercilessly to the delight of the crowd. Following the reception, I caught up with him to get some tambourine-playing tips and his autograph on the back of a business card for my son, Connor.
Back on October 14, 1992, when the Braves were at the beginning of their historic 14-division title run, I was over at my future wife, Lynne's house, watching the classic Game 7 between Atlanta and Pittsburgh that would decide the National League championship and a trip to the World Series.
I slipped down the hall to the bathroom during a commercial break and before I could shake it off, I heard Lynne scream. Running back to the living room, I found her dancing and cheerleading on the coffee table after Terry Pendleton had stroked a double to start the famous ninth inning comeback that culminated in Sid Bream's steamrolling slide to win the pennant.
As I was driving home the other day after picking up my granddaughter, Hannah, from Memorial Drive Elementary, I was telling her that baseball season was only a few days away. Now, Hannah knows how excited Papa is about his Braves baseball. She's watched enough games with me to know the passion is real.
What got me, though, was when she told me she had checked out a library book about the Braves. You go, girl! She wanted to know why the Braves were known as America's Team. So, we got into a good, long discussion about how WTBS was the first cable TV station to broadcast Atlanta baseball games across the country; and, because of that, the Braves had fans in California, Oklahoma, and Idaho—to which she volunteered Kansas and Nebraska—to which I replied, “Yes—even there”.
That's what baseball is all about. The gift that a man gives to his son is passed down from generation to generation. The passion for the game glides easily from granddaddy to granddaughter just as smoothly as Sid Bream rounding third and heading home on a cool, October night.
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DAVE GRIFFIN : 950 SUNSET LN : WAYCROSS GA 31503
Memories straight from the mind of Uncle Dave Griffin
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