What about Baseball?
Every Saturday night when I was real young I could hear the roar of the hardtops from far away Pacheco Speedway, actually called Contra Costa Speedway, I believe. Far away, even tho it was only a few miles, which seemed far enough that the sound shouldn't carry that far, but if the wind was right or because the open exhaust sent a roar heard around the world, for what ever reason, I seemed to hear the roar every Saturday night. Now what was a youngster doing on Saturday nights outside in the dark enabling me to hear those hardtops? Playing baseball, of course. Yes baseball, my life long passion. I was always on the diamond, somewhere. We had diamonds set up in our backyard, out in the neighbors field, which was always covered with mustard weed, at least that's what we called it. I think it is actually called rape weed. Never knew what it was used for, except we would pull it up and bomb each other with them, forever having "weed bomb" fights. Or we would play ball in the street, usually because the fields were too muddy for baseball. Now football was another story. The muddier the better. We would play baseball with various types of balls. Living under the two largest oak trees in the country, or would that be county, at least the neighborhood, we used oak balls as we had an abundant supply. Wiffle balls were common as well, but they wouldn't hold up too long against the wooden bats. Oak balls didn't last long either, but we had thirty thousand or so, so who cares. Out in the fields, we usually used the real thing, genuine big league autographed by Willie, the "Duke" or Casey, whoever we could find to sign it, rawhide baseballs. And we would play way past dark, past bedtime, and would always miss supper.
But the best was on Saturday nights. We were serenaded by the hardtops. Every Saturday night we would pitch the ball, swing the bat, slide into the muddy base paths and stop whenever we heard the music coming from Pacheco. Now my older brother, he was never with us. He was off and married, had kids of his own, sometimes they were with us playing in the mud, but I knew where he was on Saturday nights. He was at Pacheco! I couldn't stand it. Had to listen to that horsepower off in the distance, knowing I'm missing the greatest spectacle in racing. Sure, I was playing baseball, my favorite past time, but how I would have loved to have been at those races.
Eventually I started going with my brother, the last year they ran at Pacheco. Then when they moved over to Vallejo, I went quite often, which was a good thing, because I couldn't hear the exhaust music anymore while playing ball. Way to far away from little ole Walnut Creek, the town named after our front yard. We had about 20 to 30 walnut trees in mostly our front yard. Walnut trees, now that's a whole nother story, someday, maybe.
Baseball, still after going to Vallejo nearly weekly, I played baseball six nights a week and all day Saturday until race time. I still dreamed of pitching for the Giants, but pitching a car through the tight turns of an oval somewhere has become my first love. I will never forget dreaming about racing during those Saturday night baseball games, but dreaming about playing at Candlestick during the week. I never made it to the big leagues in baseball or auto racing, but the dreams will never fade.
So baseball and auto racing do go together, but for me, no hot dogs or apple pie, but I would take a Chevrolet, as long as it was in a hardtop!
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