Play ball! Syracuse children have been called back to school! This September ritual comes with unique challenges never before faced. This is due to a tiny ball of protein and a pinch of RNA, the COVID-19 virus. Syracuse residents have always handled balls of protein well; they recreate with them – balls wrapped in the protein, rawhide – both hardballs and softballs!
In December of last year, I mentioned my selfish desire for a transistor radio. Every boy I knew sought a radio, for sure in September, when the baseball pennant races heated up, leading to the World Series. Those games were mostly day games, and we boys would try to hide our transistor radios from the assistant principle at the junior high and listen to the games live during school. I had a more difficult time hiding mine because, as you might remember, mine had no earphone!
We boys participated in Little League baseball. Syracuse teams were pitted against teams from Layton, Kaysville, Clearfield, Sunset, West Point, and Clinton. I remember watching a game that involved boys older than me. One young man playing shortstop attempted to field a hard-hit ground ball and fell victim to an unanticipated bad hop. The ball struck his eye. His eye was partially avulsed from its socket. He recovered, but what I saw burns in my memory.
The US Census of the 1950s and early 1960s would show that our community consisted of farmers and tradesman. These men worked hard through scorching-summer days, and I’m sure were dog-tired by the time evening came. Yet, when it came, they donned hat and glove and assembled at one of the few lighted ball parks around, Founder’s Park. They played with a bigger, softer ball. My dad, the catcher, always used my glove. They played teams from similar places. I remember one game when a man from Sunset who was playing second was spiked in the calf by a Syracuse man sliding safe. The women came in their housedresses and we kids played under the bleachers until well after 10:00 PM.
The competition with rawhide balls has infected the Syracuse City Police Department. Several of our officers and admin staff test “Rawhide” positive. May I introduce Assistant Chief of Police, Heath Rogers? Next, the man who will need no introduction to children returning to school, Officer Stan Penrod, Syracuse’s DARE officer. They are both devote Dodgers fans and tolerated by the rest of the department. They are glued to TV screens with cut-out fans behind the plate and stadium noise turned up and down in the background.
Honestly, I’m very proud of our police department, and I’ve enjoyed the many communications from residents like you who are so grateful for the level of service provided by our men and women in navy blue. I thank you all for your support of our police. Looking at other communities, the department recognizes your concerns and the goodness shown to them.
Mayor Mike Gailey