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In this dream, Fenway Park is in Baltimore, and the seats are beginning to fill up with Cub fans. The sky is Dodger blue, daubed with little swabs of cotton. You can't really tell if it's early May or late September, but there's no need to wear a jacket. The tickets say Box 54, Row D, numbers one and two—oh, thank you, Mr. Hoffman, how's Glenn doing? These seats are so good we can smell the pine tar in the visitors' on-deck circle. Say, isn't that Bob Uecker in the front roooow?
We can see into the home dugout, where the manager of the Dreams, Chuck Tanner, is regaling the writers. The team is on the field loosening up. Ozzie Smith is tossing the ball with Dave Winfield, Eddie Murray's playing catch with the bat boy. George Brett is in a pepper game with Rick Sutcliffe, Fernando Valenzuela and Phil Bradley. Dale Murphy's over by the tarp signing autographs. Dan Quisenberry and Bob Stanley laugh together as they lope into the outfield to shag fly balls.
Hungry? Wait until Tommy Walton, the operatic vendor, comes around singing, "Hot diggity dogs." The old guy hitting fungoes is Jimmie Reese. He used to room with Babe Ruth back in the 1930s. It's funny how the game always comes back to Ruth.
There's Don Zimmer hitting grounders to the infielders. Look, the first group is batting now. Huge Frank Howard is the BP pitcher, and little Tim Raines is first up. Raines lays it down right in front of Ryne Sandberg. Hey, the usher is making Uecker get up from his seat.
Pat Santarone's grounds crew has done a marvelous job with this field. Listen, you can hear the voice of Ernie Harwell coming from your neighbor's radio. The man with the cane? That's Howie Haak, a great scout, who's visiting with Hank Peters, the general manager.
Did you see Lance Parrish crush that ball? There's the Phanatic prancing through the stands. The blonde lady at the organ? Nancy Faust. Wait a minute. The public address announcer, Bob Sheppard, is about to say something.
"Good afternooooon, ladies and gentlemenmenmenmen, and welcome to Dream Stadiumumumum. The 1985 Dream yearbooooook, featuring color pictures of your favorite Dreameameameams, can be purchased at souvenir stands throoooughout the stadiumumumum...."
It is a mind game, and maybe a silly one at that, but then life could be a dream, sh-boom, sh-boom. The idea here is to assemble a dream team—a dream organization, in fact—made up of the very best people baseball has to offer. There will be a lot of close calls. You can't lose, but you can't win, either. So, right up front, apologies are in order.
It is definitely a dream, because money will be no object in assembling this team. Otherwise, the criteria are strict. People will be selected for the roles they currently play. When it comes to assembling a bench for the team, there will be no copping out by making Gary Carter, for instance, the second-string catcher. The team should be for the future as well as the present, so age and attitude will be factors. A balance will be struck between lefthanders and righthanders. Clichés will be allowed for certain players.
And now for the Dreams. The choices, which will be announced just as soon as Sheppard gets back to the microphone, will certainly spark controversy. How they were made is simple. I received input from many and various baseball sages, applied painstaking logic, added personal prejudice—and got the Dreams.