Thursday, December 30, 2004

Extinctions, Schedules of

Not to turn this into "Obits R Us"--and by the way, thanks to the ever-wonderful and witty TBogg for the link the other day, plus the one from Barry at Bloggy, about the Sontag post--but words must be said about the recently deceased Eddie Layton, who played the organ at Yankee Stadium for over 35 years.

As regular readers know, I tend to give the Yankees hell in here, simply because rooting for them is like rooting for the Pentagon, and all the years of Mets stinkiness often left me more a Yankee-hater than a Mets-lover; I mean, I wouldn't trade my Craig Swan baseball card even up for a mint Goose Gossage. But we're talking a baseball stadium organist here, so it's very important we pause and lament.

For as the organists go, so goes one kind of baseball experience. The one where contemplation is a virtue, and the game itself has a sound and not just an imposed oldies rock 'n' roll soundtrack played to make cute kids and bodacious babes bop on the Jumbotron while ex-glee club flunkies run about the field bazooka-ing cheaply made t-shirts into the upper deck.

Besides, think of the rapidly vanishing habitat of the organist--roller rinks, film palaces, churches. It was a simpler, larger world accompanied by keys and pedals. Now we roller blade along to our own Ipod, put up with tiny theaters with much too big sound (but at least it comes at us from all directions), and the 1970s abomination of the folk mass probably helped drive more people from church-going in their formative years than anything else.

So I have become Grandpa Simpson. At least as I drift in my reverie of the good old days, I will hear Jane Jarvis, long-time Shea Stadium organist, welcoming me to the park with the cheery, silly tones of that old classic "Meet the Mets." As for Eddie Layton, here's hoping that if there's a heaven, it has the Mightiest Wurlitzer of all.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey George-- Thanks for that link to the site with the "Meet the Mets" lyrics and commentary. I always thought one of the lines in the song was "Head for the park and beat the Mets"--glad to know that isn't the case. And I think you're absolutely right about the folk mass. --Madeleine

3:08 PM  

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