Series business

A good many people, including all the sports writers, thought the 1982 World Series was played in St. Louis and Milwaukee. Nobody paid the slightest to the real story, which was played out here in Friendship, Maine, on the evening of October 13, when the Cardinals came from behind to tie the series at one. That was a tense evening here by the bounding tide, as lobstermen who had been up from two to three o'clock that morning and were bone weary and muscle tired from haulin' all day, sat long after their usual bedtimes to cheer the Redbirds to victory. At the final out, with a five to four win for the St. Louis team, a sigh of relief from the entire community was audible clear down to Munhiggin Island. All this has to do with Sumner Carlson, lately retired from the lobster buying wharf, and a baseball nut of long standing except that you have to call them ''fans.'' Sumner and Mary Carlson are included in our dearest friends, which same will be said by everybody else in town.

To give you some background: when Sumner and Mary were married, it was one of those double ceremonies; at the same time Arnie Rasmussen married Mary's sister, Letha. After these happy couples were pronounced men and wives, Arnie and Letha set off on the usual honeymoon trip, but Sumner had a taxi waiting and he took Mary over to Braves Field to see Warren Spahn pitch against the Cincinnati Reds.

Leaning to the National League, Sumner was sad when his beloved Braves moved to Milwaukee, and when they moved again to Atlanta he lost all interest and turned reluctantly to the perpetual disappointment of being a Red Sox fan. Soon the new Milwaukee team, the Brewers, came into the picture, and while Sumner had no particular baseball loyalty for the Brewers, it just happened that Glendon, son of Sumner and Mary, was now living in Milwaukee and off and on Sumner and Mary would wend that way for family purposes. Glendon would get a couple of tickets to a Brewers game, and he and Sumner would attend. Mary was disinclined to join them, as she explained that she had seen a baseball game once. But Sumner thus became a booster for Milwaukee, and during the 1982 season he got real excited as the Brewers looked like winners and kept a fair margin in the American League East.

While Milwaukee was fending off the Baltimore Orioles to lead the East, and long before the Brewers took on Los Angeles for the League pennant, tickets went on sale in Milwaukee for the World Series games. Glendon called home to ask Sumner if he would come out to Milwaukee to attend, Sumner said he would, and Glendon got two tickets in Row 30 behind first base for game number five. Games one and two were to be played (it turned out) in St. Louis, and games three, four, and five would follow in Milwaukee. Except that game five was followed in the TV schedule with the ominous words, ''if necessary.'' See the point? A sweep of four games by either team would eliminate game five - and that's why all of Friendship was tense as the series opened. Sumner had already arrived in Milwaukee, which Mary relayed to the community after Sumner telephoned her from Glendon's. And when, in the first game, Milwaukee creamed St. Louis in a ten-zip laugher, it suggested to everybody in Friendship that there just might be a sweep.

St. Louis just didn't look that goo-ood, and yet it was now the solemn duty of all Friendship, for Sumner's sake, to line up solidly behind the doddling Cardinals and whoop them along to win at least one game.

You can't really say that anybody much, in Friendship, cared one way or the other about the Cardinals and the Brewers. But we all cared very much about Sumner. We were most solemn during the early innings of that second game when the Brewers easily went ahead and Sutton seemed to have the mound in control. The Cards didn't look goo-ood at all. But rejoicing took over in the later innings, and with a St. Louis win in the book Friendship went to bed relaxed and got a good night's sleep. Next morning, which was the Thursday it rained fairly hard so nobody went to haul, most of the lobstermen laid abed until four-thirty or so. Then they went to the shore and discussed various things. But not much about baseball. Cards or Brewers - didn't much matter. The big thing was Sumner's fifth game, and that was settled.

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.