Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Curt Flood's Dog
Hot Talk From Cool Dog
When dejected baseball legend, Curt Flood, returned to the United States from the nation of Andorra, he carried with him only a handful of clothes and a small dog. Now, in a stroke of luck that's the equivalent of finding the Rosetta Stone, an interview with Flood's dog by famed animal psychic, Dr. Dorian Doolittle St. Bernard, has surfaced in an Oakland, California pawn shop. "It was neatly typed and bound," said pawn shop and sports memorabilia store owner, Bernie Dobermintz.
"He called his dog 'Hot'", said Dr. St. Bernard, now 88 years old and living on a house boat in San Francisco Bay. "Flood had a great sense of humor. 'Think about it, Doc,' he'd say. 'My Mom named me Curt after hearing the Biblical story of the Exodus the week before my delivery and she immediately knew what to do. Moses' trek through the Red Sea with Pharaoh hot on his heels and then... bam! The flood. 'Curt Flood....get it,'" said St. Bernard laughingly.
Dr. Bernard's psychic abilities have been used to coax beached whales from sand bars, to get horses to explain why when they are led to water they sometimes will not drink and elephants to explain what they would do if they really could fly. Without Curt Flood's attack on major league baseball's "reserve clause" which limited players pay and prohibited their free agency status, the game would have remained a highly protected monopoly over relatively well-paid, but plantation-like slave-laborers," or so said his dog Hot, according to Dr. St. Bernard.
"Hot said that Curt lamented the fact that twenty people could totally control anything," said St. Bernard. "What right does anyone have to tell a person where he or she can or cannot go. While Hot was not able to speak directly to Curt, he was able to read his mind through a God-given dog psychic-sense that was especially sensitive in Hot's breed. 'I felt for Curt," Hot would say. 'If I wanted to go somewhere over the fence I'd just figure a way. If I couldn't go over it I'd go under it....like that time in Andorra when that cute little Yorkshire Terrier was in heat,'" said Dr. Bernard according to Mr. Dobermintz's copy of the 1974 interview.
I asked Bernard why he never published the interview earlier and whether he thought that the protectionism which the "reserve clause" provided in keeping all the players under the managing eye and oversight of the owners didnt' deteriorate with the arrival and pressures of free agency. He wouldn't answer the first question, but said....
'Like throwing a dog a bone, but keeping him chained to the dog house?' said Hot," reported Dr. Bernard. "Of course this was before the rise of steroids and growth hormones, but Hot said that Curt prided himself in his ability not to enhance his bodily attributes with sissified rest and good eating habits or performance enhancers, but to abuse his body through alcohol and smoking and to see just how well he could continue to perform in spite of it," Dr. Bernard reported. "That was the mark of a truly robust manhood that's been lost and Curt certainly achieved that," said Dr. Bernard.
Known not only for his baseball abilities, but also for his artistic skills, I asked Dr. Bernard if Hot had any insights into the nature of Curt's reported plagiarism of other artist's portraits. "'Plagarism' growled Hot. Plagiarism? Why if the English china maker, Josiah Wedgewood, was accused of plagiarism any self-respecting Englishman would slit the accuser's throat. Was it plagiarism for Wedgewood to put his brand name on a piece of hardened clay that was molded and hand painted by a craftsman in his employ?' asked Hot. Dr. Bernard seemed especially animated as he retold this aspect of Hot's relationship with Curt Flood. "Hot would say, 'was it plagiarism for Coca-Cola to put its name on an artist's hand painted red and white metal advertising sign? Or did the lump of clay and piece of pressed steel become more valuable as a result of its relationship with the benefactor?" said Dr. Bernard. "Hot would have made one hell of a factory foreman," said Dr. Bernard.
I asked if Hot reported any conflict in Curt as a result of this line of thinking? "Like Curt was to the other painters what the owners in baseball were to him?" asked Dr. Bernard. "Yes," he said , "I thought of that and I can only say that Hot loved Curt. Curt always showed Hot the warmest and kindest affection and along with his dry dog food he'd always give him some of the canned Kennel Ration and not just the Purina dry stuff," said Bernard.