Other Buff Stadium Idiosyncrasies

Buff Stadium in Houston; Looking in from Center Field in the 1950s.

Other Buff Stadium Idiosyncrasies

Buff Stadium was the home of the Houston Buffalos/Buffs from 1928 through 1961. My discovery of the place, courtesy of my father, did not occur until 1947, when he took both 9-year old me and my 5-year old brother John to this local baseball cathedral to be absorbed into the magic of baseball, from then to eternity for me.

The other we wrote of the architectural adornments of the basilica. Today we will hit upon some of the other sensory immersions that anyone from that time and space who actually went inside would experience, whether these took hold of their souls or not:

  1. The turnstile clank. You couldn’t miss it. The sound it made as you walked through and registered your 9-year old presence clearly stated ~ “Clank! The kid made it spin! Let him in! Let him in!”
  2. The food fragrances. They mixed, but rarely were ruled by one smell over another for very long with any mobile person, presenting hot dogs, condiments, pop corn, peanuts, Cracker Jack, hamburgers, cotton candy, and beer in flows against and with each other. If all odors could be differentially colored, the air beneath the grandstands might otherwise have appeared, to one and all sighted persons, as a variously color-mixed unification of multi-directional rainbows, all held together in wind-paths of constant allure to one taste pallet or another.
  3. Not in Kansas Anymore. Walking up the ramp to the lower grand stands on the first base side was like the “Landing-in-Munchkin City” scene in the movie, “The Wizard of Oz.” By the time you reach the top of the ramp and stare out at the whole field for the first time, everything about life to this point has shifted from the gloom of everyday sepia tone to richly robust technicolor. You have never seen a greener bigger expanse of manicured grass in your life as the one that unfolds before your eyes. The infield dirt is an even toned sandy brown color and the bases and foul lines are the whitest you’ve ever beheld with your novice time eyes. Then it occurs to you also. – Even the billboards on the outfield walls are colorful, even if the apparel of these 1947 Houston fans is still a little bit on the drab, devoid of color side. You can even see the red neon-lighted outline of the Fair Maid Bakery sign that is one block away, above their two-story business site beyond the center field wall. Then the smell of freshly baking bread hits you as a reminder that it’s already been there with you – helping the sale of hot dogs and burgers.
  4. The Ballpark Organ Music. Organist Lou Mahan happily is working the crowd. She has them watching infield and outfield fungo bat practice, knocking out sounds and notes that match the speed, power, and contact points of a ball in flight. It is both her challenge and the theme. Even balls that get fungoed foul and go up and down the protective screen behind home plate get a matching ride up and down the note scales as they travel. Soon, as the game begins, we first time-at-the-park kids will be introduced to how organist Mahan is about to write and play a whole baseball opera of songs that will match up with the flow and needs of tonight’s game and, if the Buffs win, especially if they pull the game out in the 9th, we’ll get to hear her play the ever popular “Happy Days Are Here Again.”
  5. The Other Energy Sounds. You both hear and feel the sounds and energy of everyone whose there at the ballpark as players, coaches, fans, and vendors. The peanuts are as fresh and hot as the fans need them to be. If the fan’s need for a win is great enough, the peanuts are always fresh and hot. So listen up! – Just take me out to the ballgame! Take me out with the crowd! Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack! I don’t care if I never get back! So let’s root, root, root for the home team! If they don’t win its a shame! Cause it’s one! Two! THREE STRIKES YOU’RE OUT ~ at the old ballgame!

********************

Top Ten AL Batting Averages 

Through Games of Sun., 9/16/18: 

BATTING AVERAGE

1.

Betts • BOS

.337

2.

Martinez • BOS

.328

3.

Altuve • HOU

.319

4.

Trout • LAA

.318

5.

Segura • LAA

.308

6.

Brantley • CLE

.307

7.

Merrifield  * KCR

.302

8.

Smith • TBR 

.300

9.

Andujar • NYY

.298

10.

Duffy • TBR

.297

********************

AL WEST SCORES, 

Thru Sun., 9/16/18:

Houston 5 – Arizona 4.

Tampa Bay 5 – Oakland 4.

 LA Angels 4 – Seattle 3.

San Diego 7 – Texas 3.

********************

AL WEST STANDINGS

Morning of Mon., 9/17/18

TEAMS

WON

LOST

PCT.

GB

Houston

94

55

.631

 —-

Oakland

90

60

.600

   4.5

Seattle

82

67

.550

 12.0

LA Angels

74

76

.493

 20.5

Texas

64

85

.430

 30.0

********************

SCHEDULE BALANCE FOR

HOU, OAK & SEA:

DATE

HOU

OAK

LAA

9/17

SEA

@HOU

9/18

SEA

LAA

@HOU

9/19

SEA

LAA

@HOU

9/20

LAA

9/21

LAA

MIN

@TEX

9/22

LAA

MIN

@TEX

9/23

LAA

MIN

@TEX

9/24

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

9/25

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

9/26

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

9/27

@BAL

TEX

9/28

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

9/29

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

9/30

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

 

********************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

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2 Responses to “Other Buff Stadium Idiosyncrasies”

  1. Rick B. Says:

    That “Not in Kansas Anymore” feeling you describe probably hits every kid, especially the first time he enters a ballpark. The clearest I’ve ever seen that realization manifested was on the face of my oldest son, Michael, who was 2-1/2 years old when we took him to see his first live game at Round Rock’s Dell Diamond. He had no idea what this big building was all about and looked around at the concession stands after we went through the turnstiles – there was a combination of amazement and trepidation on his face at that point. Once we got onto the concourse and he could see the field, he absolutely lit up.

    My dad (who passed away in 2014), my oldest brother, and I were at the ballgame with Michael, and everyone in the family displays a copy in their home of the picture we took of my dad and Michael sitting next to each other. My wife and my mom went shopping at the outlet mall and then picked up Michael during the seventh-inning stretch while we men stayed until the end of the game. I figured Michael would fall asleep in the car as soon as they got onto I-35; however, when we arrived back at my parents’ house (about 60 miles north of Austin), my mom told us that Michael had given them a complete play-by-play of the action he’d seen and only fell asleep when they were about 10 minutes from home.

    It’s a wonderful game that we love, this game of baseball. And I don’t think any other sport is as meaningful from generation to generation.

  2. Anthony Cavender Says:

    I remember the aromatic smell of cigar smoke wafting through the stands and a fresh copy of the Sporting News for sale at he park. Very much like Proust–who should have been a fan.

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