Saturday, July 04, 2015

4th of July fireworks

I hope you enjoy fireworks tonight without blowing your hand off. I never quite got the attraction of holding lit sticks with small explosives made in unknown countries by craftsmen who earn nineteen cents a month.

Being a former baseball announcer I used to see firework shows at least five times a year. They were usually exploding in the air when I’m doing the postgame show, trying to read out-of-town scores while the raid on Osama was going on in the background.

When I broadcast for the Mariners in the '90s we used to have indoor fireworks at the Kingdome. That never seemed like a good idea, and in fact ceiling tiles began plummeting to the ground.  Who could have possibly predicted that?   Plus the dome was smokey for the first half inning.   I would routinely hear people coughing through the starting line up announcements. 

And then of course there was the post game fireworks show at MacArthur Stadium when I was broadcasting for the Syracuse Chiefs. A spark started a brush fire beyond the left field wall.

One year I was flying coast-to-coast on the night of the 4th. When you look up at fireworks they gloriously fill the entire sky. But when you're looking down at them from 30,000 feet they're just little colored puffs.

But the best fireworks show I ever heard of was on July 5th, 1985. It was supposed to be a July 4th show. The Atlanta Braves were hosting the New York Mets that night. The game went 19 innings and ended at 3:55 in the morning. At 4:01 the show began. I’m sure the twelve people in the stands LOVED it.

Happy July 4th weekend. Drive safe out there. And during firework shows, keep your pets inside. Pets HATE fireworks.


Scott Cason said...

At 4:01 the show began. I’m sure the twelve people in the stands LOVED it.

And the people who lived around Atlanta-Fulton County stadium HATED it. BTW, I was one of the 12.

VP81955 said...

That Braves-Mets game -- the one time in his career even John Sterling, who is to play-by-play what Kenny Bania is to stand-up, couldn't spoil the fun. Of course, then crazy George Steinbrenner (I refuse to stoop and use the tabloid term "Boss," out of respecct for all the good bosses I've worked for), had to bring him back to New York -- where his shtick bombed with the Nets and Islanders in the '70s -- to inflict audio pain on Yankees fans for the psst 25+ years. (And he replaced a pretty damn good announcer in Hank Greenwald.)

The Bumble Bee Pendant said...

That Mets game was one of the most memorable games for me. It wasn't on television for my area, and so I was glued to my radio for 8 hours

MikeK.Pa. said...

"Happy July 4th weekend. Drive safe out there. And during firework shows, keep your pets inside. Pets HATE fireworks."

As a first-time dog owner I learned that the hard way. Shortly after getting married, we bought a puppy and foolishly brought him to a fireworks show, unaware of how skittish dogs are of it. Needless to say, we left after about five minutes. Six dogs and many years later, my dogs still hate fireworks (hearing them from inside the house) and thunderstorms.

Regarding the brush fire from the fireworks in Syracuse, it reminds of the Disco Demolition Night the Chicago White Sox held in 1979, a week after July 4th. A local DJ blew up a crate of disco records that created a hole in the outfield, caused a riot and resulted in the White Sox forfeiting the second game of a doubleheader.

ibu madina said...
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Oat Willie said...

In Oregon this year there's extreme fire danger so a harsh glare could spark a grass fire, and fireworks are closely watched. But it's also 4 days after July 1st 2015 in Oregon, so we won't be minding any glares. Our chief patriotic festivizing involves egging cars with California license plates.

Ray said...

I'm a bit surprised the Syracuse Chiefs even HAD Fourth of July fireworks. The parsimony of the team's longtime owner became legendary in the International League cities to the west, where I've lived the past 30-plus years.

If you hadn't seen it, you made the owner's obituary earlier this year:

Ken Levine, who broadcast Chiefs' games in 1988, created a fictional character for an episode of 'The Simpsons' - Antoine 'Tex' O'Hara, owner of the Springfield Isotopes - based on our Tex, who passed away Friday.

Diane D. said...

Not to get too patriotic, but on this date each year I always read something written by one of the founding fathers of this country. A week ago or so, Johnny Walker and I had a brief exchange about the phenomenon of almost every discussion (any subject) in the U.S. devolving into a left vs right issue. It seemed very odd to him, but I was surprised to hear it was not common practice in the UK or indeed all western nations. Imagine my surprise to read the following Thomas Jefferson quote today (which shows how long ago the habit started)--from a letter to a friend:

"It has been a source of great pain to me to have met with so many among our opponents who had not the liberality to distinguish between political and social opposition, who transferred at once to the person, the hatred they bore to his political opinions." Thomas Jefferson, 1808

Norm! said...

There was a great Levine/Isaacs Frasier on British TV today, Miss Right Now. Jennifer Tilly was hilarious and I loved the scenes with Ronnie's puritanical mother. Martin's reaction when they return and see Laura Linney's character instead of Tilly was priceless: "What are you doing to me, boy?!"

Cap'n Bob said...

Fireworks are illegal in my town, which has created a multitude of scofflaws. My German shepherd is disturbed by them, however, so we rat out anyone in the area who sets off fireworks. There's also the fire danger. Frankly, I'm not a big fan of this holiday even though I respect its meaning.

Roy said...

The Boston Bombers used fireworks to kill and injure. When will we see the anti-fireworks crowd reach the same level of fanaticism as the anti-gun nuts?

D. McEwan said...

30 years ago I lived in a 4th floor apartment in Hollywood. The window behind the TV faced straight east. When ever there were fireworks at Dodger Stadium, I'd see them exploding just above my TV. Lot's fireworks displays seen in that home, and yet far enough away that the explosions were quiet pops a bit after each explosion.d

Michael said...

I read a story about that Mets-Braves game. In the 17th inning, Darryl Strawberry objected to a strike call and the plate umpire, Terry Tata, unloaded him. Davey Johnson came out to argue and he left, too, with a classic statement from Tata: at 3 a.m., anything is a strike. I can't say I'd blame him.

LouOCNY said...

There are several great stories about that Mets/Braves game, but this might be the best:

1. The Mets had flown into Atlanta the day before, and come to find out there was a Shriners convention at their hotel - keeping the Mets, who were not exactly choir boys at the time, up all night. When they got back to the hotel at 5 am the next night - the newspapers were already in front of their doors - a bunch of them went all around the hotel, going around every floor, making big time noise, and screaming things like, "Wake up, Shriners!"

Wendy M. Grossman said...

The best fireworks I ever saw were the show at Cornell in the late 1970s (I don't know if they still do it). They always ran it the day before or the day after the 4th so they could get a better show for the same money, and it was entirely funded by people's donations on their way out of the football stadium, where it was held (Schoellkopf). Besides the aerial show, they'd have little fireballs chasing each other across the (empty) bleachers at one end, and the fact that it was all audience-funded made it a real community thing.

I heard fireworks going off around 10pm last night (it wasn't dark enough before that), and can only assume it was some British people commemorating being "FREE AT LAST!"


iamr4man said...

I was at the first performance of Pink Floyd's The Wall at the Sports Arena in Los Angele (1980 I believe). The Wall live shows were an amazing multi-media extravaganza.. At the beginning of the show, at the climax of the first song, they had the large model airplane “fly” (on a wire) across the arena and crash with an explosion. They also shot off fireworks which seemed strange since the show was indoors.

One of the embers from the fireworks lodged in the curtain that had been raised at the beginning of the show (exposing the stage and the beginnings of the wall that was constructed during the show). The ember started smoldering and as the show went on got progressively bigger. Eventually bits of smoking curtain started falling on stage with the musicians dodging them as they fell. The schoolteacher puppet balloon had been inflated and it had blazing eyes that were pointed towards the smoldering rolled up curtain and thus many in the audience thought it was part of the show (not me, I was looking for an avenue for quick exit if necessary).

During the bit with the animated flower they finally stopped the show and the curtain was brought down and the fire was extinguished. It took about 20 minutes to clear the arena of smoke and the the show went on. I was amazed that they were able to wind up the great synchronized machine that was that show and get it running properly without any further problem. I understood that the fireworks were banned on the other performances of The Wall in Los Angeles.

chuckcd said...

When I worked at Angels Stadium, I loved fireworks nights.
They were the only nights I could leave early and beat the traffic!
I would walk out to my car amid the blare of car alarms.