DUSTY BAKER (Courier Photo/J.L. Martello)
May 31 marked the beginning of the festivities celebrating another African-American heritage celebration at PNC Park. I was pleasantly surprised to see so many African-American “families” together not only just out to take in a ballgame but to enjoy themselves as a unit.
Also, it doesn’t hurt to have the legendary Pittsburgh show band “House of Soul” live on the main stage at the Pirates ‘Friday Night Block Party’ with saxophonist Calvin Stemley and the “horney horns” along with the rest of the band including one of Pittsburgh’s finest R&B vocalists Wayne Barber not only carrying a tune but running with it; even the Cincinnati Reds faithful joined along with the Pirates fans participating in the very lively pregame show. It was fitting that the band mirrored the headliner “Kool and the Gang” who were scheduled to appear in a post game concert after Saturday’s game.
Well, boys and girls, Saturday did not go as well for yours truly because I missed my 3 p.m. 56C Lincoln Place-McKeesport chariot (actually the bus was five minutes early) and I was compelled to call an urban based cab, (jitney) to transport me to Downtown. My “limo” driver turned out to be none other than the infamous Jimmy Giles who used to run a pool hall over on Frankstown Avenue in Homewood.
I zipped into the press cafeteria to grab a bite to eat before I exited to go to the field to chat with Cincinnati Reds Manager Dusty Baker.
By the way, Mr. Baker is one of the most gracious and conscientious players and/managers that I have ever had the pleasure of sitting down with; the other two were former St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa and number one of course was and still is the late Pirates skipper Charles “Chuck” Tanner who will always remain at the top of my “interview” food chain.