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Friday, July 11, 2014

When a bat boy went to a Paul McCartney concert with Mark Fidrych and Tom Veryzer

The Old Red Rose Speedway Barn…ugh. Guess the Death gig was sold out.

On Saturday, May 8, just a few weeks prior to The Bird becoming the most famous player in all baseball (at least all baseball in 1976), I had the good fortune of hanging out with him. Paul McCartney and his newly formed band were in the middle of their “Wings Over America Tour,” and Tiger shortstop Tom Veryzer and I planned to go hear them the night after an afternoon game between the Tigers and the White Sox. We decided to meet at the Lindell AC for a burger and beer before going to Olympia Stadium to hear the famous Beatle in concert. Detroit was one of only six states where the McCartney band was going to appear for more than one night. The show we were headed for was completely sold out, just as it had been the previous night.

...A little more than halfway through the evening, Fidrych said he was going to go to the concession stands to get a beer. We decided to stay put and waited until he returned. Twenty minutes or so went by, and no Bird. Finally, I turned my head around to see if I could spot him making his way back to us, and sure enough, I could see him. However he wasn’t on his way back. He was standing in long line to the girls’ bathroom directly behind the section we were sitting in, and he wasn’t alone. He had found two very attractive blonds who were there all by themselves. Apparently he had started a conversation with them on his way back to our seats on the steps. The ladies were on their way to the bathroom, and he decided to stand in line with them and continue the conversation. It did not end there, either. I watched as the line drew closer to the bathroom entrance, and I could see he was not going to wait outside for them. I tapped Veryzer on the shoulder (he was sitting in front of me) and pointed out what was going on. Tom giggled.

“Watch,” he said. “He will go right into the bathroom with them.” And he did!

Remember, this was 1976, long before girls started going into men’s bathrooms at concerts and sporting events – something they started doing sometime in the ’80s or ’90s, or maybe even later. This kind of thing was taboo back then, and I thought for sure Fidrych would end up with cops going in and carrying him out of there. But, alas, none were around. He disappeared into the bathroom with the girls and reappeared about ten or fifteen minutes later and headed toward us. He sat down behind me as we acknowledged his return. He grinned to us and said, “Got them.”

“Got them, what?” we replied.

“Got both their phone numbers, and I told them I’d be calling one of them tomorrow, but I didn’t tell them which one.”

Veryzer said, “Did you ever think of introducing one of them to us?”

“Nah,” he said. “I’m not sure which one I like better, but when I do I’ll see if the other one would like to meet one of you.” We all chuckled and went back to watching the remainder of the concert.

Repoz Posted: July 11, 2014 at 07:35 AM | 15 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, tigers

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   1. Drexl Spivey Posted: July 11, 2014 at 08:44 AM (#4748586)
Was the punchline that the athlete banging the girls?
   2. JRVJ Posted: July 11, 2014 at 08:52 AM (#4748589)
What a fun story.....
   3. Howie Menckel Posted: July 11, 2014 at 09:05 AM (#4748594)
in TFA, there is mention of a scam where the ticket-taker lets people into the stadium without a ticket, then gets a kickback. I had a girlfriend whose family did this annually back in the late 1980s at the U.S. Open tennis in NYC. Always go to the same guy at the entrance, then go to the section watched over by his partner.

If anyone showed up to sit in the scammed seats, they would go to the colleague at the back of the section, who would guide them to a different row as if they had gotten the row wrong. This worked for the first 10 or so days of the tournament, when the lower-level sections in particular never fully filled up - thanks to corporate seats going unused. I think they paid $20 apiece for seats listing for a lot more.

nice work if you can get it...
   4. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 11, 2014 at 11:18 AM (#4748680)
Detroit was one of only six states where the McCartney band was going to appear for more than one night.


Detroit was a state back then? Wow, it's declined even more than I thought.
   5. Flack42 Posted: July 11, 2014 at 01:03 PM (#4748763)
I saw a show on that tour. Capital Centre outside of D.C. in May, 1976. It was "festival" seating -- no assigned seats.

We got in Memorial Stadium in Baltimore via an usher we'd been tipped off to by some folks at a bar near the stadium while waiting for the rain to stop. I think the guy probably wondered why we wanted to go at all. Must have been 1985 or thereabouts.
   6. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: July 11, 2014 at 01:21 PM (#4748791)
When a bat boy went to a Paul McCartney concert with Mark Fidrych and Tom Veryzer

I'm going to go back in time, kill this man, and take his place.
   7. Batman Posted: July 11, 2014 at 01:30 PM (#4748806)
At the time, Fidrych had two career major league appearances for a total of one inning- no runs, but three hits given up to the six batters he faced. His next appearance was a week later, a complete game two-hitter. Whatever happened in that ladies room changed history.
   8. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 11, 2014 at 02:33 PM (#4748880)
At the time, Fidrych had two career major league appearances for a total of one inning- no runs, but three hits given up to the six batters he faced. His next appearance was a week later, a complete game two-hitter. Whatever happened in that ladies room changed history.


Obviously they gave him their underwear and convinced him to wear it when he pitched.
   9. esseff Posted: July 11, 2014 at 03:26 PM (#4748954)
Paul McCartney and his newly formed band were in the middle of their “Wings Over America Tour,”


By newly formed, I presume he means a particular Wings lineup, since the band was in at least its fourth year of constant airplay by then.
   10. vortex of dissipation Posted: July 11, 2014 at 03:31 PM (#4748961)
By newly formed, I presume he means a particular Wings lineup, since the band was in at least its fourth year of constant airplay by then.


Or he means that this was their first American tour, and all the concerts played in Europe didn't count...
   11. Zach Posted: July 11, 2014 at 06:21 PM (#4749068)
So was Wings a band people got excited about, or was it just first among equals in the "Not the Beatles, but what can you do?" category?
   12. vortex of dissipation Posted: July 11, 2014 at 06:30 PM (#4749074)
I think people were excited to see McCartney performing, and especially performing a major tour with state-of-the-art (for the time) lighting and special effects. I don't think people cared all that much about the other members of Wings...
   13. Steve Treder Posted: July 11, 2014 at 06:38 PM (#4749079)
I don't think people cared all that much about the other members of Wings...

Not a whit. Wings was Paul McCartney with backup band.
   14. Rob_Wood Posted: July 11, 2014 at 09:10 PM (#4749160)
I saw Wings on this tour too in Chicago. While everyone went to see Paul, Denny Laine was a first-rate musician and even sang lead on a few songs himself.
   15. silhouetted by the sea Posted: July 12, 2014 at 05:39 AM (#4749326)
I saw McCartney and Wings on that tour. We had binoculars that we passed around and everyone I was with agreed that if we went to a restaurant afterwards and Wings came in without Paul we would not have recognized them.

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