Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Very Serious (Like a Peek Frean)
2008-05-19 10:07
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Portrait of the Blogger as a Young Boy with Baseball on the Brain:

Put me in coach...  

The following shots were taken by an old friend of my mom's from Belgium who came to visit.  Must be around '77 or '78 cause I'm wearing a Bicentennial t-shirt.

That's my brother Ben, throwing the ol' palm ball.  Amazing that he could even grip the damn thing, right?


That's Ben and me with my twin sister Sam.  Like I said, I was very serious about baseball.

2008-05-19 10:27:03
1.   Knuckles
Great stuff.
The background in the 2nd/3rd photos look like a backdrop from a Sears portrait studio, circa 1982.
2008-05-19 10:35:06
2.   Alex Belth
I know, the lawn chair. That was at my great aunt's summer place. How about my skinny little knock knees? LOL
2008-05-19 11:00:07
3.   Bob B
Nice pithing form, Alex. You look like a young David Cone
2008-05-19 11:12:47
4.   Raf
Native Tongues reference in the title. Buddy Remix. NICE! Got the kazoos stuck in my head now, tho'.

Thanks for sharing the pics... Very cool. Where were these pics taken? Looks very upstate-ish (not in the NYC sense either)

2008-05-19 11:24:10
5.   Alex Belth
Yeah, I wish I could have found a You Tube with that old Peek Freans ad, but I couldn't so I had to settle for the "Buddy" line. (Man, that remix is still the joint and the original is dope too.) The top two shots are in Putnam county and the others in Westchester, Yorktown where we lived during the final years of my parents' marriage.
2008-05-19 11:37:27
6.   rbj
Nice, Alex. It looks like you're swinging a better bat than some current members of the Yankees.
2008-05-19 11:51:22
7.   Raf
5 Yorktown & Putnam County... The boonies!

Born in the Bx, raised in Mt. Vernon, where I was by '78. To me, Orange, Putnam, Rockland Counties were like another world to me.

And it's crazy to me to see all the fairly recent development going on up there.

2008-05-19 11:58:04
8.   pistolpete
6 Hey, do ya think the other teams will let our guys hit off that device in the first picture?

Giambi might actually be able to put it to the left side...

2008-05-19 12:03:17
9.   pistolpete
7 Born in Bronx, parents quickly shuttled me off to Rockland County in '73. We frequently visited relatives still living in the city, so I was pretty familiar with both sides of the Hudson.

Living in CT now since 2000, and trips into Gotham are just a complete hassle for my lily-white suburban self.

Although last night was an interesting trip for me – had to be in Queens for a party at 4pm, and GPS brought me right past the new Citi Field on the way in. On the way back it took me over the TriBoro and up 87 past the new cathedral in the Bronx.

If I wasn't driving I'd have taken a couple of pictures.

2008-05-19 12:13:27
10.   weeping for brunnhilde
Beautiful, Alex.

Those are really great pictures. They capture so much in terms of feeling and atmosphere.

I especially like the pitching one. That's just classic.

I just bought the kid his first bucket of real baseballs yesterday. We'd been using the softer, t-ball balls and when we went to restock, I asked him if he wanted the hard balls or the softer ones and he chose the hard ones.

I told him it would hurt more when they (ok, I) hit him (his old man has some control issues), but he said it was ok. I said it was good to use the hard ones because when he plays in a league they'll be hard. "Yeah, so that way I'll be used to it already!"

Man, he had some good ab last night. Taking close pitches, nice defensive swings, a couple of rips.

At least someone's serious about baseball in this world.

2008-05-19 12:23:15
11.   Alex Belth
My mom stayed in Westchester when my parents split in 82. She was actually considering moving back to Belgium (she came to this country in '67 to marry my fathers) and taking us with her. Instead, we lived in Yorktown and then Croton where I went to middle and high school. We were weekend city kids and summer city kids. My dad's family--who are all New Yorkers, and most all Upper West Siders--called the suburbs "the country," which is what I called it to. I did it without thinking but it would really drive my suburban friends nuts. Go figure.
2008-05-19 12:32:31
12.   Rich Lederer
Classic photos, made all the better that they were of you as well as the time period.

Had you not been malnourished, you might have had a shot at the bigs with that throwing motion and concentration. : )

Gotta love your bicentennial shirt and Ben's Batman shirt.

Good stuff, Alex. Thanks for sharing.

2008-05-19 12:56:20
13.   Alex Belth
LOL, Rich. I was skinny as hell through my early twenties. My family, in all their sensitivity used to wonder if I wasn't on the concentration camp diet, which goes under Jews can make fun of Jews category I guess.

Yeah, Ben's Batman shirt is great, right?

2008-05-19 13:19:04
14.   pistolpete
BTW, who here didn't have a pitchback growing up?

I think I wore mine out pretty early, my Dad had to get a second for me. You're not supposed to use a hardball on it, you know... hehe

2008-05-19 13:46:03
15.   Alex Belth
Man, that pitchback was wack. That's the thing with the net, right? I just remember the thing busting on the reg. But I don't think I got the memo about not using a hardball. LOL. Dag.
2008-05-19 14:56:09
16.   Rich Lederer
When I was a kid growing up in California, the pitchback was marketed as the Larry Sherry Pitchback after the Dodgers relief pitcher of that same time period. The Pitchback was meant to be used with tennis and rubber balls more than hardballs. The net either tore or the flimsy stand would collapse. A wall or porch - or an older brother or dad - worked just as well.
2008-05-19 15:16:59
17.   Matt B
I recall having a device in the late 70s where you would stomp on a lever that would then release a spring-loaded thingamabob which would launch a ball straight up into the air for you to hit. It was endorsed and named after Rod Carew. Does anyone else remember this gizmo?

I have so many distinct wiffle ball game memories, too. Rules disputes that ended with "I'm taking my stuff and leaving!" and a vivid memory of hitting a ball over my house as the Angels tanked in the '82 ALCS to Milwaukee. Mark Brouhard was the unlikely star.

2008-05-19 17:55:21
18.   joe in boston
Great pics, commentary and "banter". Reminds that I have to take more pics of my 2 boys (5 1/2 and 3 1/2 years old). Lots of whiffle ball in our front yard already. Alex, I dated a girl in Yorktown (Heights). Her dad was a cop - he scared me alot ! Good memories.....

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