Monday, August 24, 2009

Pyromaniacal baseball fans

Alas, the baseball season is winding down--at least for short-season teams like the Williamsport Crosscutters--so I decided to purchase a souvenir program to commemorate it. I also wanted to learn about Bill Pickelner, a guy who apparently was responsible for bringing baseball back to Williamsport in the early nineties and who did various other Williamsport-sports-related things before dying at the age of ninety-four in December. And this program did not disappoint! Especially the following anecdote. I don't know! Maybe this is normal baseball behavior! But I doubt it!

Byham said his most vivid recollection of Pickelner was the night the Philadelphia Philies were supposed to play an exhibition game against the Williamsport Grays in 1962 and it rained all day before the game. There was real doubt it would be played.

"I remember Bill and Rankin Johnson and a couple of other guys pouring gasoline all over the infield and lighting a fire to dry up the field," Byham recalled. "As Bill was carrying a gas can up the first base line, the fire spread towards him a little more quickly than he anticipated and he tossed away that can real fast and started running."

"That kind of gives you an idea of how much a hands-on philosophy he had with local baseball," Byham said.

It certainly gives you an idea of something! A cursory google search reveals that such outside-the-box-type thinking would likely get you arrested in these benighted times.


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