More musings ‘bout birds …


It seems that Papa Robin gets the last word when it comes to humans intervening with Mama Robin and the babies.

This morning, I packed my camera, then meandered over to Marge’s magnolia bush to get a picture of Mama Robin sitting on or near her babies, as a follow-up to Saturday’s post.

But, when I leaned over, at what I considered a respectable distance away, lo and behold, along came Papa and “chewed me out” but good. He stood his ground on the City property, while making his presence known.  First he scowled, then scolded me with some rapid bird chatter.  I said “alright already – I can take a hint”, so I left for my walk.  I decided to abandon any future picture-taking escapades, because the patriarch of the little robin family was pretty mad at me.   Four miles under my belt, and about 45 minutes later, I returned to see that little devil had left his calling card in splats all over my garage and front door.

Hmmmm – that’ll teach me.

Evidently, the bird gets the final word.

I was going to make this post only about the robin and my walk, but I’m going to tie this bird theme to the upcoming All Star Game and some reminiscing about Mark “The Bird” Fidrych.

My pals who hail from Detroit, as well as other baseball enthusiasts, who follow this blog, will remember Mark Fidrych, the pitching sensation who made his debut as a rookie in 1976. “The Bird” will be featured in a documentary that airs tonight on the MLB Network at 10 p.m.  ET.

While, I’m not really a sports enthusiast, by osmosis I pick up a lot of scores and stats from the radio, as well as sports human interest stories, gleaned from listening to the Mitch Albom Show. A few weeks ago, one hour of the radio program was dedicated to this documentary about Mark Fidrych.  Mitch played some audio of game highlights, a Fidrych interview, plus a few sound bites of his mob of adoring fans from that special season forty years ago.

I remember that rookie season well.   Mark Fidrych made his debut in a Tigers uniform, a cap with the old English “D” plunked down on his golden curls.  He was tall and lanky with a perpetual infectious grin.  His nickname was coined after a coach said he resembled Sesame Street’s “Big Bird”.  All around town, especially on the radio airwaves, the chant in the Summer of 1976 was “The Bird is the Word”, that 60s song having been resurrected in honor of this pitching sensation who won Rookie of the Year and was the starter at the All Star Game.

Not only was “The Bird” a pitching sensation, but his antics enthralled old and young alike. Every time young Mark Fidrych spoke directly to the baseball, or got down on his knees to re-arrange the dirt on the pitcher’s mound, it was documented in the sports section or highlighted in the nightly local news.

“The Bird” was especially big in the Downriver area where I live. This is because, at one time he lived in an apartment in Riverview.  Whenever he got those lovely locks shorn off, there were a gaggle of giggly girls eager to retrieve those curls from the barbershop floor.

During the Summer of 1976, I was working every day at the diner since I was on school break. The conversations between the customers buzzed about “The Bird”, so much so, that Jack and Bernice Loveday, owners of the Dairy Queen, just a few blocks away, contacted his agent to arrange a guest appearance at their store.  The Lovedays were daily customers at Carter’s, and promised my co-worker Leslie and I, the chance for a private meeting with “The Bird” before they turned him loose in the parking lot to the general public.  Well, Leslie and I were all gaga over this anticipated encounter, and talked about it for days, as we waited for his agent to get back to the Lovedays.  But, when the agent finally responded, the appearance fee was so exorbitant that the event never happened.

Of course we were bummed out, but it was fun thinking about it anyway.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. Despite the phenomenal rookie season, the next year Fidrych suffered a knee injury, then arm pain, so he was sidelined and on the DL most of the time, and never improved in successive years , eventually leaving the Tigers in 1980.

After his early retirement from baseball, he bought a farm in his native Massachusetts. It is there that he died in 2009, after a dump truck fell down on him on him while he was doing some maintenance on that vehicle.

Back here in Detroit, his fans mourned their idol’s untimely death. Interviews and images on social media helped us all to relive that magical Summer, that not only celebrated America’s Bicentennial, but a boy wonder who wore the #20 and made us beam at the baseball park and beyond.

[Image from Open Clip Art on Pixabay]

About Linda Schaub

This is my first blog and I enjoy writing each and every post immensely. I started a walking regimen in 2011 and decided to create a blog as a means of memorializing the people, places and things I see on my daily walks. I have always enjoyed people watching, and so my blog is peppered with folks I meet, or reflections of characters I have known through the years. Often something piques my interest, or evokes a pleasant memory from my memory bank, so this becomes a “slice o’ life” blog post that day. I respect and appreciate nature and my interaction with Mother Nature’s gifts is also a common theme. Sometimes the most-ordinary items become fodder for points to ponder over and touch upon. My career has been in the legal field and I have been a legal secretary for four decades, primarily working in downtown Detroit, and now working from my home. I graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in print journalism in 1978, though I’ve never worked in that field. I like to think this blog is the writer in me finally emerging!! Walking and writing have met and shaken hands and the creative juices are flowing once again in Walkin’, Writin’, Wit & Whimsy – hope you think so too. - Linda Schaub
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2 Responses to More musings ‘bout birds …

  1. Majorie Aubin says:

    Oh I remember him. He was excitement. He was the only reason most of. watched baseball.


  2. lindasschaub says:

    Yes, he was excitement – he lit up the Summer that year.


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