|"We have an available shuttle bus to Miller Park."|
The passage is so alert and fun and well-written and packed with evocative details that I'll quote the bulk of it:
jukebox: the J. Geils Band’s “Angel in Blue,” Alabama’s “Mountain Music,” Eddy Duchin’s old “Time on My Hands,” Smokey Robinson, the Andrews Sisters. There is a pool table jammed into one half of the lounge, and the lights on the wall are imitation baseballs, with little crossed bats underneath. Photos and paintings of Harv everywhere, of course. When I was there, the folks at the bar were youngish men in T-shirts and mustaches and old high-school-team windbreakers and emblazoned industrial caps; they mostly drank Miller’s, but one man near me at the bar was working on Hennessy’s cognac with Pabst chasers. The clientele at Cesar’s Inn turns up in bunches after the shifts change at big manufacturing plants in nearby West Allis—Harnischfeger (overhead cranes) and Rexnord (chain belts) and Allis-Chalmers. The late shift sometimes includes men from another neighborhood plant—Gorman Thomas or Jim Gantner or Pete Vuckovich—in for a brew after a night game. On busy nights, Bob McClure and Mike Caldwell have been known to slip behind the bar to help out.
I introduced myself to Audrey Kuenn, a trim, extremely pleasant woman in blue slacks and a tan blouse, who told me that she had experienced a few moments of doubt when Harvey was named manager, back in June, because she didn’t want to lose her close friendship with the Brewer wives, who call her Mom. But it didn’t change; they all went on sitting together in Section 3, just as before, and screamed the team home. The Kuenns have been married for eight years (each was married previously), and now I asked Audrey if she’d ever seen Harvey play ball. “No, I didn’t,” she said. “It used to be the old Braves who played in this park, you know, Eddie Mathews and Joe Adcock and the rest”—the Braves won a World Championship in 1957 but abandoned Milwaukee in 1966, moving to Atlanta and leaving a very bitter feeling among local fans for their perfidy—“and I never got to see any American League players.”
“He was something,” I said, and she said, “I’ll bet. But I don’t think I could have stood it, watching Harv—I get so excited.”
Our conversation was conducted in fragments, because Audrey Kuenn had bar business to look after, and the phone kept ringing (the Kuenns are in the book, and one of the callers that morning was a man who told Audrey to tell Harvey to tell Gorman Thomas to keep his eye on the ball; “I sure will,” she said), and the Kuenns’ three dogs—Nicky and Jingles, the boxers, and Ugsly, the pug—seemed a bit restless, too, and no wonder. Then the bar talk and Series talk went up a notch or two when a young man and his girlfriend came in, bringing along their boxer, name of Harley, who had a half-embarrassed, dog-in-a-paper-hat look, because he had been painted Brewer blue from head to foot and nose to tail (blue hair spray, it turned out), with a tan “1” on his back and the Brewer baseball-mitt logo in tan on his forehead and a wiggly tan “Go Brewers” in script on each flank. “It’s better on his other side,” Harley’s owner told me, pointing to the message. “I got better at it the second time.” Audrey Kuenn Went out back to tell Harvey to finish getting dressed, because it was time for him to get to the park, and when she returned, just before Harvey came out and said hello to everyone in the place, and then goodbye to everyone in the place, she said to me, “When we got to the hotel in St. Louis the other day, I said to Harv, ‘Can you believe we’re here?’ and he said, ‘Never in a million years’.”Nothing needs to be added here; I'll let the details do all of the work, as Angell does.
|This recent, gloomy shot of Cesar's Inn is courtesy Google Maps Street View. 1982 must feel as if it's a long way away.|
Top photo of Cesar's Inn via OnMilwaukee.