Fourth Coast Entertainment -

The Boys of Summer


Last updated 8/4/2018 at 9:23am | View PDF

Growing up Summer time was my favorite time of year. To start with school was out. What kid doesn’t love summer for that reason alone? I remember leaving the school house gleefully singing, “School’s out, School’s out. Teacher let the monkeys out…” Of course when I told my kids this they would look at me like I was an alien from the planet Weirdo where all the inhabitants have two heads. But for me and my brother, summer was the time to be outside riding our bikes, having cookouts at our grandparents and of course going to see the Cincinnati Reds play

I know what you New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox fans are thinking, “The Reds? Really?” Just keep in mind, my very first professional baseball game wasn’t just any Reds team, it was the legendary Big Red Machine. I saw Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, Ken Griffey and Mr. Charlie Hustle himself, Pete Rose not to mention the rest of the World Series Reds team. If you’re going to introduce a kid to America’s pastime, then this is the team to watch. By the way, the Reds crushed the Montreal Expos that day.

Sitting there watching Pete Rose guard 1st base as I ate a hotdog was the perfect picture of summer day back then. Did you know there’s people who actually go to a baseball game and don’t get a hotdog? I know what your thinking, I thought they were as mythical as the unicorn as well but just the other day I met such a person. Now, if you hang out with me then you’ll eventually hear me exclaim there are things I believe should be added to the United States Constitution. Going to Disney World is one and getting a hotdog at a baseball game is another. It’s called America’s pastime for a reason. I’m not sure what they do to make them taste so great but I can never leave without having more than one, even if they are the same price as my truck payment. Perhaps it’s the water (just like the NY Pizza those Yankees fans keep talking about) or the chili sauce mingling with the mustard and onions as its poured over it. Whatever it is I have to have them.

Only one hotdog in the world rivals a hotdog from the ballpark and that’s a hotdog grilled at the family get-togethers. The char marks from the charcoal flames or mom’s homemade chili sauce sets these franks apart from all the others, even one I’d get at a stadium. These are the kind of memories of summer which permeate my mind as I think of all the summers I’ve had in my life. Summers when my dad would be manning the grill and my grandfather would be tricking all of us into thinking churning ice cream by hand was fun. Memories of a sandlot baseball games with the cousins behind my grandparent’s ole Kentucky home as Grandma warned us to keep the game out of the garden.

Sitting here in my Florida home, where it’s summer all year long (don’t be jealous), I don’t get to a MLB game very often and I do miss seeing my Reds. But we have our local minor league team, the Florida Fire Frogs, which brings back many great memories of summer. So this weekend, fire up the grill, toss on a few hotdogs and take a kid to a baseball game then pass on these memories to the new boys (and girls) of summer.

Vic Clevenger

the Cookin' Comedian


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