A short story ode to Mike Epstein

Epstein, in the locker room after winning the 1972 World Series, wearing his prized “Marshamallow Disco” t-shirt. (disco light effects added by the editor for comedic effect.)

It is a cold December night in 1972, and I am with Mike Epstein and his wife. We are exiting his cherry-red Ford Thunderbird and about to enter the Marshmallow Disco. The “Marshmallow” as it is called is in a dingy, industrial block of Manhattan. There are a group of homeless folks staring at us as we exit the car–a unwordly group with distorted faces that would make one either question their drug intake or the group’s relativity to the planet Earth. I feel safe as I am with a man who has a hulking presence and once kicked the shit out of Reggie Jackson in the locker room. Some would say that this dust-up has even overshadowed Mike’s baseball oeuvre. A drunk Puerto Rican woman approaches Mike and his wife shouts,
“Look, bimbo, he’s with me.”
The “bimbo” skulks off in a fit of hysterics and Mike growls,”Look, man, I don’t have time to hassle with that shit. I got my old lady with me.”
Mike steers his wife in the general direction of the VIP door. There are smokers gathered, sitting on high school cafeteria scratched iron chairs–their legs crossed, casting appraising glances every which way with primal, reptilian eyes. You can hear the O’ Jays and Sly and the Family Stone bumping inside. There is American dissolution in the parking lot as American decadence flails away in a cocaine-induced dopamine explosion inside. The alcohol turning once happy groups into an imminent decent of after-hours grotesque buffoonery. A woman grabs a man on the way inside.
“Every damn time we fuck I gotta listen to your bullshit after we’ve finished. Why don’t you let me enjoy my afterglow for a change?”

3 Comments

Was Epstein on any of the championship teams? I assume he was there for at least the Reds victory. Was he a starter?

Hey Keith….he was on the 1972 Championship team and was subsequently traded to Texas the next year to make room for Gene Tenace at first base. I seem to remember reading somewhere that he was traded in reality because he was having salary issues with Charlie O. Finley.

With Epstein, I’m reminded of the black armband he wore at the 1972 Series along with Ken Holtzman and Reggie Jackson to honor the Israeli athletes killed at Olympic Games. Kind of expected from Epstein and Holtzman, them both being Jewish, but Reggie struck me as a welcomed curve ball of compassion.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: