Boog turned nine on Aug. 5, 2000. By that time I had put out a bunch of zines and chapbooks in conjunction with events. I’d been doing instantzines for parts of seven years. I’d started one pamphlet series (they refer to them as chaplets now) with Rachel Levitsky to establish Belladonna Books and another for Aaron Kiely’s Bookcellar series in Cambridge, Mass.
Then Richard Loranger asked me to read in his series at Tillie’s Cafe in Brooklyn, and said it would be during what would be game five of the Subway Series. If the Mets made the series and it went to five games, I had a ticket for that game at Shea Stadium, and also one for game three. This was the third year I shared a Mets Sunday plan with my then- brother-in-law, which meant that in September we were eligible to purchase postseason tickets. You buy all of your postseason tickets at once, in case every potential home game at your team’s stadium is played. If they don’t play any games, you get offered to put this toward your next season’s plan or get a cash refund if you don’t reup your plan. It’s a way for the team to get interest upon all of the monies they’ve gathered from all of the people who purchase any postseason tickets, we all know this, but are okay with it.
If the Mets made the World Series, we had tickets for the first and third games to be played at Shea Stadium, which corresponded to games three and five. This meant that if the Mets were swept by the Yankees in four games, that game five wouldn’t be necessary. My brother-in-law and I swapped tickets before.
A year earlier, in 1999, I flew to Louisville to help celebrate my friend Kent Fielding and his wife Este’s recent marriage on the west coast. I flew TWA all the time then, and their hub was in St. Louis. So each trip to Louisville I had a changeover in St. Louis.
I knew that this weekend was the first time that Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa would play one another since the previous season’s home run race. On the way to Kentucky, it was three hours between flights. So I got out at the airport and hopped in St. Louis’ version of the subway, and headed to Busch Stadium just to soak up the atmosphere.
Outside of the ballpark was the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum, which shared its building with the International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame. I headed inside and exited with a coupon for four free frames of bowling. When I went back toward the stadium, former Cardinal closer Al Hrabosky, the Mad Hungarian, was co-hosting his local radio show. I had him sign the back of the bowling postcard I’d just bought, and headed back to the airport.
After a few days of merriment with the Fieldings and their friends and family, I was headed back to St. Louis to change for the flight home, but I decided in advance that I wanted to make a detour on the way back to NYC.
I got off at the airport in St. Louis, put my bag in a locker, and headed off to the stadium to scalp a ticket. An older man, now not that much older than I am, had one ticket for sale, his son or grandson couldn’t make the game. He was selling it to me for face, $18. I handed him a 20, he gave me the ticket and I said thank you and started to walk off. “Wait a second,” he said, “I owe you two dollars.”
And I went into the ballpark, saw Sosa hit two homeruns and the Cardinals win (https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN199908150.shtml), and flew standby back east, bumping into Sports Illustrated’s lead baseball writer, Tom Verducci. I gave him a copy of Booglit and told him our next issue was going to focus on baseball and Louisville. A few months later that issue would feature a Brooklyn Eagle photograph of Louisville’s own, Brooklyn Dodger shortstop, Pee Wee Reese, whose son Mark was friends with Kent, blowing a bubble.
One week later, my brother-in-law and I had our usual Sunday tickets to a game against McGwire’s Cardinals. Since I just saw McGwire and Sosa in St. Louis, I told my brother-in-law he should take my ticket and bring my niece Michelle, that she should experience her first game in style, so I swapped my ticket for one of his for an upcoming game. A rainout on Thursday turned the Sunday ticket into a doubleheader.
So my niece Michelle, a few months past her sixth birthday, went with her dad to her first baseball game ever. The third batter up was McGwire, who hit a solo homerun, his 50th of the season, and the crowd went wild, as opposing crowds these last two year would only do for him and Sosa. My niece had sensitive ears, and three batters into a doubleheader, her father and her left the ballpark.
I wanted to take my father to his first World Series, but my brother-in-law and I had tickets for game three and game five, if necessary. If the Mets split or took the first two games of the series, which were being played in Yankee Stadium, my brother-in-law would trade me his game three ticket for my game five, which now would be necessary. Then dad and I would go to game three together and during game five I’d take part in the Subway Series baseball poetry reading that Richard and I put together.
But the Yankees beat the Mets in those first two games, and at that moment game five was still an if necessary game. I had a choice, give my dad my ticket to game five so he could go to his first World Series and miss the series entirely because we had skedded the reading to take place during the other game I had tickets for, game five. Now I love my father, but this was the Mets in the World Series and he would understand. And if game five happened, dad could use my ticket and go with my brother-in-law.
So that’s what I did, went to game three, which the Mets won to put them down two games to one. Then they lost game four, and the next day my dad and my brother-in-law were headed to game five, dad’s first World Series game, together.
That night I took part in the baseball poetry reading. I had my friend Ethan Fugate read the Carlton Fisk scene from Good Will Hunting (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ViCfc3eIpv4) with me as some sorta allusion to giving my dad the ticket for that night’s game.
I’m pretty sure Eddie Berrigan and I read the Subway Series poem we wrote together when the Chemical Week production floor was slow. We gathered at a table in the office breakroom and he taught me how to create my very first villanelle.
And I was fortunate to share the bill with two of my favorite writers, favorite baseball writers. First there was Spike Vrusho, who created the much beloved zine Murtaugh, named after the late manager of his favorite team, the Pittsburgh Pirates; and Elinor Nauen, editor of the classic collection Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend: Women Writers on Baseball and then writing a lengthy poem that would turn into her 2011 book So Late into the Night, which featured a section called “Derek and the Boys.” Yes, that Derek.
And then after the reading a bunch of us went to a nearby bar to watch the final bit of the Yankees series-clinching victory, before I shared a cab back to the city with an elated biggest Yankee fan I know, the aforementioned Ms. Nauen, and a friend of hers.
So that is the story behind this one-shot zine that you are about to read, available here for the first time digitally, now more than 22 years later.
Coda: About 20 years after my dad went to his first World Series game ever he broke into a story of him and his friends waiting outside Yankee Stadium to see them play the Dodgers.
“You mean the 1947 World Series, the 1947 Subway Series?”
“Yeah, that’s the one.”
“But you said you’d never been to a World Series before.”