My cruise companion was Ivory Madison, who doesn't follow baseball. We had met at a writers' conference in New Orleans. When someone on the cruise asked who was for and against the DH, Ivory said, "I'm against D.H. Lawrence" and started explaining why.
I'm not saying she didn't make some good points. I'm just saying that when it's couples, it's hard to keep your concentration on baseball as such. An example:
Dinner with Satch and Lynn Davidson. She runs a pet-bereavement counseling service, which also involves sensitivity training for veterinarians. And she has raised her husband's consciousness with regard to chewing tobacco. "It's why one side of his face is bigger than the other," she says. He chewed it from the age of six, he says, until 1983, when he met Lynn and she insisted he quit. Right after that, he got the first cavity of his life. Sometimes Lynn reminds him to watch what he says around a writer.
Satch is telling umpiring stories. Once, in the minors, he sent both benches to the locker rooms, made the press vacate the press box and threw out the organist. "It was a riot situation. Nickel a Beer Night," he says. Satch stresses the importance of an umpire's not taking anything off of anybody. (Except when it's necessary: "One time I undressed Gaylord Perry for throwing an illegal pitch—made him go into the dressing room and take all the Vaseline off, from head to toe.") He says that in the minors, where professionalism could not be assumed, "I'd grab 'em by the shirt and pick 'em up and throw 'em against the wall. I broke every bone in a man's face once."
"Hmm. How many bones are there in a man's face?" asks Ivory in a low voice.
"He was pushing me," Satch goes on. "I hit him with my mask."
"This," Ivory whispers, "from a man with a manicure."
I guess Satch's nails are well cared for, but that isn't what interests me. I want to nail down this face-smashing story.
"What city was that in?" I ask Satch.
Lynn nudges him.