May 4, 1924
I woke up kind of late at Cecil's apartment in Harlem, and by the time I washed and dressed, Benny was back with some hot muffins and apples for breakfast. Cecil slept over at his woman's place, which was lucky for him but knowing that didn't cheer me up any.
On the first hand, I felt pretty bad about the way I treated Rachel's book pages. I probably should have just pretended I could read the words and that they were great and writer-like. Then at least we'd probably still be friends. On the second hand, Benny made a good point about not getting too kooky over one girl, not when there was lots more to choose from. Except maybe that was much easier for him than for me.
Anyway, the big news when Benny showed up was that we figured the schedule all wrong. The Braves, just like the Red Sox, aren't allowed to play in Boston on Sundays, so them and the Giants had taken trains back to New York last night. Meaning Brooklyn was hosting the Braves today, and the Phillies were kicked back over to the Polo Grounds for one game before going back to Baker to play four more with those Giants. Benny thought this was a lot better because Harlem is much closer to the Polo Grounds than Ebbets, and also because the Robins have been rubbing our noses in it day in and day out and the Giants are playing like chumps.
But this also meant if I wanted to try and see Rachel again today I couldn't.
We got to Coogan's Bluff a half hour before game time. I said it might be fun to actually go up on the bluff to watch the game with all the people who couldn't get in, which my dad said was what happened at the end of 1908. But Benny said no dice, the only place to see a baseball game is where you can smell the grass, so he snuck us in under a grandstand fence during the second inning. It was just in time to see the Giants' O'Connell boot one and lead to three Phillies runs in the 2nd and give them a 3-1 lead on Bentley. Doubles by Ford and Parkinson made it 4-1 in the 4th, and with Oescheger going with his 2-0 record, things looked good.
It was another one of those slow agony games with lots of runners, and my mind started thinking about Rachel again. Okay, so maybe she wasn't the easiest girl to get along with, but watching that moonlight on her roof stayed with me like a head cold I couldn't shake. The score board on the far fence read BRK 8 BOS 2 with a 6 beside it, and I knew there was still maybe half of both games left. I fibbed to Benny, told him I promised to buy something for my mama before I left New York and said to wait for me outside the grandstand gate if I wasn't back in time.
I was lucky to remember which train cars to take to Brooklyn, and had no problem slipping or jumping over the ticket booths on every line. I ran like a nut when I got into Brooklyn and ended up on a street behind Ebbets Field. There was a big open area outside the left fence they were just starting to build on, and saw a bunch of wild yellow flowers growing on a hill. I'm not sure what they were and they made me sneeze when I smelled them, but they were sure pretty enough for any girl so I picked the whole bunch.
The Robins were creaming the Braves awful good, like 10-2 in the 7th, and fans were starting to leave. This made it a cinch to slip inside the place. I squeezed around the fans in their big coats, the few ladies I saw in their hats, checking every one's face to see if it was Rachel's. It was actually easier to pick out the female fans because of those hats, and when Dutch Ruether pitched Brooklyn out of a little pickle in the top of the 7th, I heard a young woman let out a yelp.
Rachel was in a low third base seat with her father, who I didn't know was a baseball fan himself. I crouched right behind her seat, tapped her shoulder and when she turned I held out the flowers and sneezed. She was amazed and I said all in a rush that I was real sorry about yesterday and really did want to read her writing some time and that I just couldn't stop thinking about her all night and I really do want to be friends, and that she was welcome to visit me in Philadelphia any time during the summer for a tour of Baker Bowl. I put the flowers in her hand, tipped my cap to her father and left the grandstand.
By the time I got back to the Polo Grounds, all out of breath, Cy Williams had dropped a fly in center helping the Giants tie the game 4-4 in the 7th, Frisch had singled in Snyder with two outs in the 8th, and the Phillies had lost again 5-4.
But I sure hadn't.
Good night from our good old luggage car out of New York, reader-people!
PHL 030 100 000 - 4 9 1
NYG 100 001 21x - 5 11 1
Other National League games I somehow was able to find out about:
at ROBINS 10-15-1, BRAVES 4-8-1
I suppose this helped Rachel's mood as much as the flowers did. Jack Fournier got four more hits, including homer no. 8 and now has 24 runs knocked in. If they ever gave out an award for the best player in each league, Fournier would win in a flash.
at REDS 7-11-1, PIRATES 0-5-3
A horrible game by the Bucs, who fall out of first place with this one. Dolf Luque pitches fantastic and Cliff Lee hits two big doubles. Cincy is now tied with them behind Brooklyn.
CARDINALS 15-19-1, at CUBS 8-14-4
Only the terrible Cubs are keeping us out of last place right now. They go up 3-1 on Jesse Haines in the 2nd before Tony Kaufmann allows eight Redbird runs in the 4th and three more in the 5th. Ray Blades gets two singles, a double and homer in the leadoff spot.
|NATIONAL LEAGUE through Sunday, May 4|
|New York Giants||10||9||.526||2|
|St. Louis Cardinals||10||10||.500||2.5|