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Rated: E · Short Story · Sports · #2096820
is it time for a pinch hitter? then it's time for Vibert Clarke!
13 January 2003

Vibert Clarke - A Young Man From Panama, South America

We search together for something uncertain, nebulous, obscure, as
we traverse some mysterious and uncertain passage.....

After continuing on for a bit of time, I am no longer with my erstwhile searching companions, but to my amazement and fascination I find myself in the black cheering section of The Old Clarke "Griffith Park", watching the Charlotte Hornets baseball club, the event being well attended, as the bleachers are quite full tonight, the atmosphere very festive, very restive, these baseball fans expressing great exuberance , enthusiasm, and glee!

This dream brings me back to Clarke "Griffith Park" located at 400 Magnolia Avenue, a public facility or more precisely referred to as a baseball stadium, comfortably enclosed, seating about 5000 fans, (very cozy- very inviting -very minor league ) used by the Charlotte Hornets baseball team of The South Atlantic league, (Sally League). The Charlotte Hornets were a minor league team affiliated at that time with the Washington Senators, a major league team of the American League, (it would seem that politicians were held in somewhat higher regard back in those days) the year being circa 1956, give or take a year.

Anyway back in that era black people were accommodated at Clarke Griffith Park, in their own separate cheering section, the bleachers as they were refereed to, located along the third base line, set apart from the primary grandstand by a distance of some yards, comprised of a very small section of open uncovered bleachers, constructed to accommodate about 400 or so people.

The only black player for the Charlotte Hornets at that time was (Vibert) Ernesto Webbo Clarke, from Panama, South America , a left handed pitcher who also batted left handed. Vibert Clarke was not very large as baseball players are usually defined, about 6 foot tall and weighing about 160 pounds, but he just happened to be a fantastic pinch hitter, an amazing pinch hitter, very-very much a clutch hitter as the expression is oft used.

Something else now comes to mind, back in those days we had R. B. I ' S. and not R.B.I. and we liked it fine, it worked great for us!

Vibert Clarke was very-very adept at creating or enhancing a frenetic-frenzied atmosphere for the fans, swinging his bats together in the on deck circle with great confidence and assurance, (something stupendous and amazing was about to happen very soon! (Don't miss it!!! Don't leave to buy another grape snow cone!!!)

As the Charlotte Hornets would certainly be down a run or two and the game well into the late innings, thus presenting an aspect of urgency and desperation, which was always an attending part of the mix when Vibert Clarke gallantly stepped into the batters box, as a pinch hitter... Such spellbinding anticipation creating an intense euphoria of anticipation for all us baseball fans.

There was no division amongst us Charlotte Hornets baseball fans as Vibert Clarke dug his spikes into the North Carolina dirt in anticipation of a first pitch, as he was always at the ready, a great eruption of sound and excitement would burst forth as thousands of pairs of feet began rhythmically stomping the wooden floors of the grandstands and bleachers with unbridled..exhilaration... in anticipation..The place would really rock, (as the phrase conveys) with an extreme festive ambience. !!! BEINVENIDO A NUESTRA FIESTA !!!

The name of the baseball stadium Clarke Griffith Park and Vibert Clarke the player is just a fascinating coincidence I assume, having no reason to assume otherwise..These curious juxtapositions of coincidence seem to happen quite a bit in life, even more so if one is attuned for them?

This is the backdrop of my dream of 13 January 2003, eons ago from the Clarke Griffith Park of 1956 as I so fondly recall it....to me it still seems so very near as if daddy and I were sitting in the stands of Griffith Park just last night, I'm eating my favorite grape snow cone as we both wait in great anticipation for 7:45 p.m to arrive, watching the pregame swirl of activity, "look at that fungo bat!" The purple dusk slowly evaporates, the game will soon start..... it's really gonna be a good one tonight!!!

And this morning I am reading the box score in the "Charlotte Observer" sports page, it will either be the bee's or the hornets in the box score this morning. If they won they are the hornets if they lost they are the bee's...

Daddy would oft come into our kitchen exhibiting his usual boundless exuberance, enthusiasm and vitality, a festive tone and playful smiling face, and give his version of a particular poem, one of his favorites, I used to hear him recite in part, from time to time was, "The bird of time has but a short ways- To fly - and Lo the Bird is on the Wing." a poem from Rubaiyat Of Omar Khayyam - translated by Edward Fitzgerald. Of course I was young at that time and did not contemplate the import of his ennobling message, to any great extent, however now as I reflect back I must solemnly agree. Tis so true, so very-very true!

Getting back to the enchanting dream: suddenly our entire cheering section begins to undulate dramatically as would an ocean, the odd circumstance of this experience is that nothing is breaking nor being damaged, because our entire bleacher section has somehow become incredibly flexible, plastic and pliable.

The more ferocious the wave of energy the more flexible is the object of the energies surge,

We become enchanted and amused, being swept up into the force of mysterious energy, as we are now part of the energy force ourselves , exhilarated, euphoric beyond description....

As the enchanting event subsides and vanishes from my consciousness, I am puzzled to discover, I am now standing on West Trade Street, Charlotte, in close proximity to "The Old Harding High School," and the world famous "Harris Field' "GO- RAMS GO!" Do you remember "Coach Dave Harris," way back when? Should I pay a visit to Harris Field, a place where I played baseball in my youth, for Enderly Park, a Babe Ruth baseball team, also eons ago,

My thoughts eventually refocus and I decide to go back to the bleachers cheering section at Clarke Griffith Park...

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