Escondido, CA

One of the greatest players

Last week Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Willie Mays celebrated his 90th birthday. “The Say Hey Kid” was unquestionably one of the greatest players to hit and catch a baseball and as a youngster I had the privilege of watching him play in the worst baseball park in major league baseball. 

The Polo Grounds in New York City was an uninspiring cavernous structure totally unsuited for the game but it was home to the New York baseball Giants. Baseball had to be included in describing the team to differentiate them from the New York football Giants.

In thinking about Mays and the team’s smart move west to San Francisco, I recalled seeing the Giants play in New York and how he endeared himself to baseball fans even though the Yankees and Dodgers were the more favored teams to follow. 

One game sitting in the left field seats with about 200 other Little Leaguers we were thrilled watching left fielder Monte Irvin along with center fielder Mays. During batting practice, every ball hit to Irvin he would turn towards us and throw the ball to us. It was quite a sight as we all scrambled to take home a used baseball souvenir.

I’m talking about a bunch of kids who never had a new ball to play with at home. In fact, when the leather covering wore out we used black electrical tape to cover the strings holding the insides together. Every dad had this tape available and it was also useful in taping cracked bats together so we could continue playing baseball on any vacant lot in town. I think it was 1952 when our town formed a formal Little League and we had a fenced ballpark in which to play. No grass infield but at least the outfield was green. It wasn’t until about 7 years ago that I appreciated making the All-Star team. At the time it wasn’t much more than we got to play more games but alas we only played one losing in the first round thus ending the season. Great memories.

Last week I wrote about the San Diego County Water Authority and the steps they have taken to prepare us for impending drought years. An additional action the SDCWA has taken is constructing an underground storage facility. This 5 million gallon storage is being built in the Mission Trails Park. To put this into perspective, 5 million gallons equates to roughly 15 acre feet of emergency storage compared to Lake Dixon’s 2300 acre feet but still a sizable safety valve. Having served five years on the SDCWA Board of Directors I feel it is important for us to learn more about the Authority’s efforts on our behalf and since we live in a semi-arid region be water wise.

A shout out to Classical Academy and Escondido Charter High School. Classical was recently honored as a ‘Distinguished School’ and kudos to Cameron Curry and staff at Classical. ECHS recently began a partnership with the Chamber of Commerce Board Chair Don Romo, Shawn Roner, ECHS Executive Director Karen Precott-Loeffler with National Electrical Contractor Association forming a hands-on trade training program for students. This is such good news for Escondido to prepare teens for employment in a high paying trade.

Trade schools were prominent where I grew up and a subject I voiced support since moving here. We need to give those students who prefer working with their hands and creating the opportunity to succeed in very much needed trades. Until such time as robots can perform tasks in construction trade schools are the answer. I have had the opportunity to tour both school campuses and learn of their programs and goals and believe Escondido is very fortunate to have these schools close to home. Actually, Escondido offers numerous educational options with public, private and charter schools.

Recently I saw an ad on TV promoting a new style windshield shade a bit different than the usual. This reminded me how this whole idea of reducing the inside temperature in your car began. Some decades ago, two men working in Saudi Arabia cut out some cardboard to block the hot sun heating the vehicle inside. When they came back to Southern California they decided to try and sell these cardboard cutouts since it is hot here in summer although not 120 degrees like Arabia. Well, their idea fizzled out with very few buyers so they sold their company. The new owner made one change. He painted a pair of sunglasses on the cardboard and as the saying goes, the rest is history.

This week’s plates. SDRORO, don’t know. TNX EWI, could be thank you EWI? And JG has a proud grandma with this one, JGSMAMI.  

*Note: Opinions expressed by columnists and letter writers are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the newspaper.

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