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Damn, Earl Weaver!

Image thanks to Andy Gray at SI Vault.

Damn, Earl Weaver, you knew how to walk the line — though often, you crossed it. Thrown out at least 91 times, even today you might be thrown to the wolves for your lack of small balls. Big balls only, you always said; sport coats and ties. But Schlitzes, Marlboros, too, in their time. You knew how to walk that line.

At home — the neighbors’ basketball hoop within earshot, their windows close enough to see into, and out through into yours. That simple fence, one imagines, you cut and stained and weaved yourself (and the extra lumber still crowds that modest shed) during one disappointing off-season. The fence is not to keep the neighbors out, but to keep Floppy and Shu-Shu in.

And those sliding doors! Out through which you and Marianna step onto Astroturf — Astroturf! — en route to the pool. But not to swim. Merely to enjoy the lukewarm comforts of Middle America: a not entirely sunny day, a Virginia Slim, the feel of well-worn Keds, the knocking of the breeze at your hair-sprayed heads. Your pups, too, it seems, are addicted to nicotine; your pool isn’t very deep; your shirt was free. The Astroturf, in time will curl and be more brown than green. But damn, Earl Weaver: you knew how to live.