Then I passed someone driving a yellow Kaiser car. I believe they stopped making Kaisers in 1955.
THE FRANCHISE BUSINESS
The man who owns the Dodgers did not like The Boys of Summer, a book I wrote celebrating baseball, life, the courage to be new—and certain men who spent a decade winning pennants for the Brooklyn Dodgers. A Los Angeles morning had broken summery and dense, light smog hovering under a yellow sky, after a night when the Dodgers defeated the Cincinnati Reds 5-0. Walter Francis O'Malley, a compelling 73-year-old paterfamilias who mixes Quaker parsimony, pagan ferocity and Irish-Catholic charm, looked up darkly from sheaves of correspondence. He did not say "Hello." He did not say "How are you?" Instead he growled in a Tammany bass, "This time are you going to write something positive?"
At such moments, I long to utter an infinite retort, at once deflating the critic and placing my published work beyond criticism lower than Ruskin's. But I am not any good at that. I am good at making plodding responses and later getting angry.
"It sold some copies," I said.
O'Malley waved his cigar as though it were a scepter. "Several stories involving Fresco Thompson and Buzzie Bavasi were unfortunate," he said. "They were so unfortunate that I asked my son Peter what in the world has gotten into our Brooklyn friend."
Ah, but we argued long ago in Brooklyn, too. O'Malley is a consistent man, and he has consistently believed that the first function of the sporting press is to sell tickets to Dodger games. I looked out a window. Dodger Stadium, loveliest of ball parks, had been swept and scrubbed clean of the litter and gum deposited by 52,469 customers the night before. "What a pleasant office you have," I said.
"Not so pleasant," O'Malley said. "Outside my window there's a ground-keeper standing in center field with a hose, and I wonder, if he's going to use a hose, why the hell did I put $600,000 into an underground sprinkler system."
"Why does he use a hose?"
"Because we brought him out from Brooklyn, and he used a hose there," the owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers announced impatiently.