Friday, October 26, 2007

Remembering Dino Bartoli

Long-time Parkville resident, Dino John Bartoli died in his sleep on Sunday morning, October 21st at the age of 91 in Fort Meyers, Florida.

Devoted husband, father and grandfather, Dino Bartoli was born on June 14, 1916, in Shickshinny, Pa., to Gemma and Torquato Bartoli. He was one of five children.

He played professional baseball for Sunbury and Shickshinny in the Pennsylvania Leagues during the late thirties. Mr. Bartoli won the 1938 batting title with a .361 average and once played against Hall of Famer Goose Goslin, among others.

He married Carolyn Ciampi of Berwick, Pennsylvania and moved to Baltimore. They were married for 65 years.

Mr. Bartoli worked for Bethlehem Steel at the Sparrows Point location in Baltimore as a yardmaster on the nightshift. He took early retirement at the age of fifty-five and began collecting and selling antiques with Carolyn. They owned a store on Harford road called Treasure Alley.

Mr. Bartoli bore a likeness to Penn State football coach Joe Paterno and was often mistaken for him. Throughout his life, he was an avid follower of the Baltimore Orioles. He had a fondness for Carolyn’s meatballs and crab cakes, rice pudding, ice cream, John Nettleton shoes, and Cadillac cars.

He lived life to its fullest and would converse with anyone including total strangers. He is survived by three children: Dona Lowrimore of Woodstock, Illinois; Bernie Bartoli of Fort Meyers, Florida; and Senie Bloys of New York. He had six grandchildren, and eight great grandchildren.

Mr. Bartoli will be cremated and his ashes will be placed in the casket with his wife Carolyn.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Time is Now for Boston

My wife is a New Englandologist, a Bostonophile, a Providentian, a New Hampshirist--a lover of all things New England. Baked Beans, Coffee Syrup, Cape Cod--these are some of her favorite things. In her mind there is New England and nothing else on the continent. She also likes turkey sandwiches with all the trimmings--the kind you have on the day after Thanksgiving and the day after that. That is, of course, if her baseball team is winning. The Red Sox are in trouble and she's resorted to making turkey sandwiches for dinner. If the Sox win tonight, we will be eating turkey sandwiches through the weekend. During the last World Series run, we ate turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing and lettuce on whole wheat until the Sox beat the Yankees. My son is walking around in his Red Sox shirt--the one I was forced to buy him during our Cape Cod vacation--eating a turkey sandwich.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Remove Torre and The Dynasty is Over

The Yankees are hanging on and are one win away from making it interesting. Steinbrenner said over the weekend that Joe Torre would be judged on the outcome of this series. Torre realizes this and has for as long as he has been manager. His job is on the line every day. Torre means "tower" in Italian. Joe has towered over baseball for the past fifty years--first as an ambassador of all things National League when he played catcher for the Cardinals and now as manager of the Yankees. I remember owning his baseball card. Remove Joe and the mystique is gone. His eyes tell the story as they shift and calculate situations. He is a godfather more than a coach--the head of the Yankee family. Having an Italian at the helm is a good thing for a number of reasons. The Yankees have had their share of productive Italian-Americans: DiMaggio, Crosetti, Berra, Rizzuto, and Pepitone. Italians of a certain generation, no matter where they reside, identify with the Yankees. Growing up in an Italian family would have given Joe the necessary training in Machiavellian tactics. George Steinbrenner is the banker--he merely funds the operation. Torre is the spirit of this latest Dynasty. Jeter and Mariano personify that spirit--not A-Rod or Damon. The dirt wedged between Torre's cleats has more gravitas than Steinbrenner. It's hard to imagine that Clemens or Pettite would come back to play for another manager. Is there any better manager in the world than Joe Torre?

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Vinik vs. Bartman

This is a simple one for me. Leave the ball alone if it is catchable. This is like reality television. We don't need to know who these people are. Bartman's only flaw was that he cared too much. The headphones, the Cubs attire, and he was oblivious to what was happening in the game. All of a sudden, he's Bilbo Baggins trying to grab the ring. I remember Jeffrey Maier reaching over to snare a Derek Jeter home run ball against the Orioles. I saw the same thing occur years before at Yankee stadium to ruin a pitcher's duel and give the Yankees a 1-0 win. Have enough respect for the game if you are sitting close to the field to let the players decide the outcome. If you want a baseball, attend batting practice. If you are purposely trying to interfere to help your team--stay at home.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Yankee Killer

My son Quinn turns one tomorrow. On the day he was born last year, Kenny Rogers shut down the Yankees in the Playoffs to take a two games to one lead. The Indians defeated the Yankees in extra innings tonight to take a two game lead in the series. It was the first intriguing game of the postseason. Pettite and Carmona locked in a pitcher's duel. Mariano Rivera like an aging bullfighter mowed down Indian batters tonight. His stuff was almost too good. A strike-three rising fastball that soared over Posada's glove nearly put the winning run on in the tenth but the Yanks held. I think the New Yorkers may have been overlooking the Indians just as they did the Tigers last year. The one thing you have to wonder about if you are a Yankee fan is whether they have run out of gas. They've had severe outages throughout the season, especially at the beginning. The Orioles beat them nine times. This is not a good time to go into a funk. I'm having trouble getting used to watching the playoffs on TBS. The coverage is as bland as when they do NBA games. The voices sound familiar as though the annnouncers are trying to imitate Joe Buck and others--but it's not the old standbys--it's guys like Steve Stone who used to do Cubs games with Harry Caray.

My daughter says she likes baseball better than football because you get to go "home." We'll see if the curse of Quinn Smith holds for another year.

I'll stick to my Red Sox World Series prediction. Their infusion of young talent at the end of the season was impressive. They act as though they have something to prove.
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