Saturday, April 26, 2014

From The Rubble

The remains of "The Booth" - photo courtesy of Gregg Hansen
 Thursday of this past week, my friend Stewie posted on Facebook, “Puddles, your booth is down to the wrecking ball. Just saw it.” My immediate reply was, “No way!” Then after letting it sink in, I added, “I’m shedding a tear.” And wasn’t being totally facetious. After all, that booth is the namesake for this blog. Now it’s gone. I’m sort of devastated.

When I mentioned to my good friend Patty 4-Names that “the booth” at Finney’s West, she remarked, “I saw that!” She then made the sad face and added that I will have to change the name from my blog to “From the Rubble.”

She might have a point…

The booth first came into being in 1977 when Sam “Finney” Perry and current Kenosha mayor Keith Bosman, along with several silent investors opened Oakwood Park adjacent to Smitty’s Tavern in beautiful Somers, Wisconsin. The state of the art softball complex was the first of its kind in the area and featured all the amenities; in-ground dugouts, an electric scoreboard, cyclone fences complete with warning tracks, and a concession stand with the iconic announcer’s booth above it. At some point, both the ballpark and the tavern became Finney’s West.

It is now 2014 and it is called Scores. And the concession stand with the announcer’s booth above it no longer exists. It has been reduced to rubble.

However, I only have myself to blame.

I should have been more proactive. As my friend, Kool Papa, stated on Facebook, the demolition of the Finney’s West booth is a travesty. He feels that it should have been preserved under the historical registry. Because the Kenosha Softball Nation dropped the proverbial ball, the all-too-real wrecking ball actually dropped.

Kool Papa astutely noted that because this iconic structure is gone forever, no one will ever be able to say, “See that overhang up there? That’s where an umpire jumped when an irate Ken Pflugrad chased him out of the booth window!”

Yep, we blew it. The advocates for the Southport Beach House were wise enough to organize in an effort to restore and preserve the historic building that was established in 1941 and is located on the shore of Lake Michigan. They are to be commended for their passion.

Southport Beach House
Now, because I and the rest of Kenosha Softball Nation lacked this passion and, more importantly, foresight, the historic building that was established in 1977 and is located on the corner of highways E and 31 is no more. It has been reduced to rubble.

And this is very sad.

While the Southport Beach House might have been around 36 years longer, it has nothing on the booth at Finney’s West. There have been just as many cherished memories and historic moments in that rickety wooden booth as there have been in that classic building on the beach. And, I guarantee there was a lot more alcohol consumed in that booth. I can personally attest to that fact.

Nevertheless, there is no use crying over what was. It is a moot point now. The booth is gone. It no longer exists. Although it has been reduced to rubble, I will not change the name of this blog to “From the Rubble.” There are far too many memories for that.

With pride, I say, until next time…from the booth.

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