As we approach the weekend, all is well with the Shenandoah University baseball team, who continue to climb in the national polls after their 16th win in a row earlier this week. A tough task awaits Saturday as the number-11 Hornets entertain number-4 Randolph Macon in an ODAC matchup of national powers. Sunny skies and 61 degrees is the forecast, so it should be a great day for a twin bill an Bridgeforth Field!
As for my DC teams…the Caps have come off the deck to even their playoff series with Columbus at 2-games apiece and regain home-ice “advantage”. The road teams have won all 4 games in the series, so take that for what it’s worth. Where the Caps are concerned, we’re all braced for heartbreak…
The Nationals showed some signs of recovery this week, taking 2-of-3 from the Mets at Citi Field, which should be renamed “Nats Park North”. Because I am a glass-half-empty person when it comes to my Washington sports teams, I am focusing on the game they should have won. The Nats over-used bullpen wasted a great performance by Tanner Roark and melted down in a 9-run Mets 8th inning in the series finale. Lots of baseball left, so I’m trying to stay off the ledge.
As for the Wizards, the tee-times are already being made. Losers of 9 of 12 to end the regular season, the Wiz have been unable to turn things around in the playoffs against top-seed Toronto. I don’t see this series going any more than 5 games, if that.
Now, on to this week’s main topic, the passing of a professional wrestling legend, Bruno Sammartino, who died this week at age 82. “The Living Legend” was one of wrestling’s good guys, both in and out of the ring. In fact, Bruno never turned “heel” (in wrestling parlance, bad-guy) in all his years as a wrestler, and had the longest title reign in WWWF (later, the WWF, then the WWE) history, winning the belt in 1963 from Buddy Rogers, and holding it until 1971. He would regain the championship in 1973 and hold it again for another 3 years. In his illustrious career, Sammartino would sell out Madison Square Garden an incredible 188 times!
But the story doesn’t end there. Bruno’s life is a truly great American success story. As a child, Sammartino and his family had to hide from the Nazis in his native Italy (I always wondered how he felt about his matches with Waldo Von Erich, who came to the ring in pseudo-Nazi garb). He then came to America, worked as a laborer, and then became the very best at his chosen profession. He truly believed in the American Dream, and made his come true with determination and hard work.
Sammartino would have a falling-out with the WWF, and sued Vince Mcmahon, Sr. for money he thought he was owed. He also didn’t like the company’s tawdry storylines, and the general direction in which the sport was headed. It took the efforts of WWE superstar “Triple H” to bring Bruno back into the fold, and several years ago was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
It was probably Sammartino who hooked me on pro wrestling. In the 60’s and 70’s, “rasslin” was constantly on TV at my Grandmother’s house, and Bruno was constantly battling the likes of “bad guys” like Killer Kowalski, Gorilla Monsoon, and Superstar Billy Graham. Wrestling was true good versus bad theatre, and no one embodied the “face” persona like Sammartino.
Finally, I might also mention that Bruno was such an iconic figure to me and my friends that one night at a party, after more than a few “soda pops”, we tried to coax Sammartino’s phone number out of a Pittsburgh telephone operator. We were denied.
Until next visit from the Booth, RIP Bruno, and GO HORNETS!