Rich Galen

"If you could find an Eli Grba [right-handed pitcher for the NY Yankees in 1959-1960] today, that was next to that rectangular piece of gum you could still sense that gum on Eli Grba's jersey.

"It's a frightening concept, now that I think of it."

Baseball was not a TV game back then. Maybe a game on Saturday would be televised, but the screens were small, the resolution was like a 1983 desktop computer, and it was only in black & white.

When I was following the Yankees in the 1950s, and then the Mets in the early 1960s, I did it by listening to the radio.

I am old enough to remember what we now call "recreations" of out-of-town games - that was when a guy sat in a studio in New York (or Boston, or Washington) and read the ticker of the pitch-by-pitch action and pretended to call the game live - including smacking a wood block with a stick to mimic a bat hitting a ball.

It wasn't real. But, when you're 10 years old, dreaming of being Bobby Shanz (because he was short and left-handed) and taking the mound at "The Stadium," it didn't have to be real. It was already magic.

The Nats won the first game of the NLDS 3-2. But it wouldn't mattered if they hadn't scored two in the top of the 8th to take the lead.

They're still the home team and they're in the playoffs.

More than a half-century later, it was still magic.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at