The Earl of Baltimore

    Sunday, January 20, 2013, 10:31 PM [General]

    Unpacking my suitcase Sunday morning after Ken and I returned from a cruise the night before, I imagined how Marianna Weaver must have felt aboard the cruise ship on which her husband Earl Weaver had expired early Saturday morning. I imagined her packing up his clothes and belongings, enduring one more day at sea before their ship docked again in the U.S., knowing her husband was not in their stateroom but in the ship's morgue, then disembarking the cruise liner, this time not on his arm, but perhaps walking slowly next to his body bag. 

     

    How a ruined vacation – and his death – was not in the plan.

     

    A person in our group on our separate baseball-related cruise had approached our breakfast table to discreetly whisper in Ken’s ear, “Earl Weaver died.” From that point on, Ken’s cell phone jingled with calls from reporters and fellow teammates who needed to discuss the great legend of a manager. A manager whose job was to win games. A manager who focused on one game at a time. Who wasn’t afraid to let his players know they screwed up. A manager in a white and orange Orioles uniform who didn’t like umpires and didn’t care if all of Baltimore saw him on TV kick up dirt in a huff after a muffed call. In his career, he was tossed out of 97 games.

     

    A manager who brought out the best in his players.

     

    “His best attribute was his ability to get us focused,” said Ken, who played on Weaver’s team between 1975 and 1982. “We knew what our jobs were. He made us play hard. I appreciate him today more than I did back then.”

     

    Earl had some tremendous players on his roster: Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Cal Ripken Jr., Jim Palmer and Eddie Murray … all baseball Hall of Famers. Earl was in the Hall of Fame himself, inducted in 1996.

     

    They say there’s a blessing in everything … then the blessing of Earl’s untimely death aboard an Orioles cruise was that he ‘went out’ having a good time ... partying, laughing and surrounded by baseball people who adored him. He and Marianna had participated in this same cruise annually for some 20 years, joined by several other former Orioles players, this time former pitchers Scotty McGregor and Bill Swaggerty.

     

    Facebook friends and Baltimoreans covered social media with their memories and fond thoughts on the Baltimore legend. Everyone loved the ‘Earl of Baltimore’ – even if he yelled a lot. We grew up watching Earl – a feisty little guy with a cute little face that reminded me of Curious George.

     

    Ken has a bunch of humorous stories about him. But now is not the time to tell them. Now is the time to honor the man who led Ken and his teammates. The manager who taught, led, inspired, drove, and won.

     

    The last time Ken spoke to Weaver was at Eddie Murray’s statue unveiling last summer at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. “He and I were alone,” said Ken. “He said he appreciated how hard I had played for him. But it was Earl who brought out the best in me. To say that he was unique is an understatement. There will never be another manager like him. Rest in peace Earl.”

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    Baltimorean or not, my allegiance is with the Yankees

    Friday, October 12, 2012, 8:56 PM [General]

    Geesh, it's been a war zone down here in Baltimore on my two facebook walls. Catching all kind of flak from my friends because I happen to have an allegiance to the Yankees even though I'm a Baltimore girl. Wearing my hot pink NY hat to the gym elicited a few negative sparks as well. I shouldn't have to explain my allegiance and yet I'm usually forced to.

    My friends who are O's fans have been gloating and pushing my face in it when the Orioles won. I then gloated back each time the Yankees won. And some of them got downright mean with their posts (ha! and these are 'friends?').

    Whoops! Hey "friends" ... I know the score. The last game between NY and Baltimore just told it. I am G-L-O-A-T-I-N-G all over the computer, yup, right in their pretty facebook faces. Even posted this teaser photo of two NY World Series rings of Ken's, to shut them up.

    "Aren't these P R E T T Y?" I said.

    Don't mess with a Baltimore girl.

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    And nine makes a team

    Monday, September 3, 2012, 11:02 PM [General]

    Ken finally has his own baseball team. New grandbaby Kenley Jane Singleton arrived in August to round out the Singletons.

    So, we’ll put Ken in right field because that’s what he knows. Me … I’ll take shortstop because that’s the position I played in softball for years (plus SS are my initials). Son Justin can take his former position at second base because that was his spot in the minor leagues. Our daughter-in-law, Tricia, can be behind the plate, because now as a mom, she knows the importance of home.

    The other 3 kids and 2 grandkids will pick positions of their choices … because we like to see our kids have choices as they grow up. And we hope they choose to be in the right places.

    Ken and I will double our roles as manager and coach as well, because isn’t that what parents and grandparents do? We coach our kids and their kids throughout their lives. We show them the path to run and hope they run in a straight line. We hope they don’t just stand there and ‘take’ the pitches; instead we want them to swing for all they’re worth. And if they miss – swing again!

    If a fastball nicks them, we’ll run over and make sure they aren’t hurt. We’ll help them to stand up on their own two feet once again and encourage them back out on the field. We will strive to teach the importance of great teamwork and camaraderie. We will teach them to gingerly ‘field’ the plays in life in the best manner they can. And should they make an error, they’ll know it’s only human and they will try it again and again. There’s always the next inning.

    We’ll encourage them to run fast and play hard. Various skills will be learned. We’ll insist on no spitting on anyone. We’ll teach them to be prepared with the proper equipment for protection, to wear their uniform proudly, and to handle their place in the lineup the best they can.

    And should they pop out, strike out, or ground out, we’re ready at the bench with a pat on the back and a “You’ll get ‘em next time.” And if we lose any games, we will teach them good sportsmanship … to rise above defeat. And that tomorrow brings another game. Winning is a bonus!

    Yes, we finally have enough for a baseball team.

    Play ball. Play life. Play well.

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    ZUMBA Gold in Yankees Territory

    Monday, July 23, 2012, 3:02 PM [General]

    Even Yankees fans 50 and over like to Zumba, showing moves of their own in St James on Long Island. Mrs. Singy (kneeling far left) helped to teach friend Ida Ferraro's Zumba Gold Fitness (age 50-over) class at the St. James United Methodist Church on Long Island July 23. How inspiring to dance with these energetic and happy ladies - all Yankees fans of course! Their "Zumba love" was evident as they hooted and hollered during the peppy Latino-inspired songs taught by certified instructor Ida Ferraro, of Smithtown. Ferraro said the group takes her Zumba classes 3-5 times per week. "Zumba must be the cure," said Ferraro. "They approach me with different stories about how Zumba has changed their lives, helped them to lose weight, gives them more energy, or just makes them smile. Staying happy, healthy and fit is important for all ages." Thanks ladies, for a FUN class! Mrs. Singy shall return!

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    American-proud emotional in D.C.

    Friday, June 15, 2012, 2:51 PM [General]

    There is nothing more all-American than baseball. Unless you count watching baseball while in Washington, D.C., a city where an American can feel very proud to be a United States citizen. For all it symbolizes ... for all it holds ... for what it is ... the District of Columbia provides us with a mecca of red, white and blue emotion. 

    Ken at the Washington MonumentFollowing Ken into D.C. for the Yankees/Nationals series, we bee-bopped around town on the Yankees off day Thursday to walk around the many infamous memorials and  monuments and plethora of waving American flags: Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, White House and war memorials. 

    Wow. 

    Here are all of these splendid and touching tributes to our country's history, to our fellow citizens and war heroes, to pastpresidents - right in our back yard an hour south of our Baltimore home - and rarely have we taken the time to visit, appreciate, and honor them.

    It was at the Vietnam War Memorial wall that I felt the most emotional. The hundreds upon hundreds - excuse me - make that tens of thousands (over 58,000) of soldiers' names etched into that sad gray granite wall brought on the silent tears. Each person had died for our country ... for us ... for our freedom. 

    As I stopped to read some of the names, I thought about their families who have had to continue life without their sons, brothers, sisters, fathers, uncles, husbands, wives, and friends. I thought about the day these families had received the dreaded news - maybe in the form of unannounced uniformed military personnel appearing at their front door, or in the way of a special delivery telegram - a day that altered their lives and hearts forever.

    Al Bumbry, one of Ken's former Orioles teammates and best friend, served in Vietnam. He once told Ken that the platoon leader was the one responsible for writing letters to families after a fellow solider died. Luckily, Bumbry didn't have to write any such letter. He said he was very careful as a platoon leader, not only because he cared about his fellow soldiers, but because he wanted to get back and play baseball.

    It caused recall of the platinum P.O.W. bracelet I have had sitting in my jewelry box for four decades, etched with the name LT. COL. SHELDON BURNETT. Vietnam MemorialI was a young girl of 12 in the 70's when my hippie cousin ordered a bracelet for me and my older brother and sister. I may not have understood all that the Vietnam War stood for, but I knew that Lt. Col. Burnett was a real person in a real family. I wore that bracelet for many years. 

    As I write this, I Googled the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and I found my soldier's name listed. I learned that his remainswere discovered in 2004. After all that time, what must it have been like for the family to learn that news? What hell have they journeyed through since the 1970s "not knowing?"

    Thank you, Lt. Col. Sheldon Burnett. Thank you for dying for America.

    Seems fitting that I had heard these words sung by a guitarist Wednesday night in Baltimore's Inner Harbor as the tallships from other countries visited for "Sailabration." The words have been since resonating in my head. 

    Sing with me ..

    And I'm proud to be an American

    Where at least I know I'm free

    And I won't forget the men who died

    Who gave that right to me

    And I gladly STAND UP next to you

    And defend her still today

    Cuz there ain't no doubt I love this land

    God bless the U.S.A.

    (lyrics by Lee Greenwood)

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  • Unpacking my suitcase Sunday morning after Ken and I returned from a cruise the night before, I imagined how Marianna Weaver must have ... more
  • Geesh, it's been a war zone down here in Baltimore on my two facebook walls. Catching all kind of flak from my friends because I happen ... more
  • Ken finally has his own baseball team. New grandbaby Kenley Jane Singleton arrived in August to round out the Singletons. So, ... more
  • Even Yankees fans 50 and over like to Zumba, showing moves of their own in St James on Long Island. Mrs. Singy (kneeling far left) ... more

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