Springtime’s Sweet Nostalgia

I’ve always been a sucker for nostalgia. When I see imagery from yesteryear, I think of a time when text messaging and Blackberries had no place in our lives, third graders didn’t own three-hundred dollar phones and Tweeting was something that birds actually did.

Pictured below is a photo from Macanudo’s ad that has run several times on the back cover of Cigar Magazine. While I love baseball and cigars, this time period piece speaks to me from the heart. It’s a time pre-political correctness and long before the smoke Nazi regime began to attack our beloved pastime – no, not baseball, I’m talking about cigar smoking.


derringer-cigarJust look at the men on the bench, lighting up in the old-time ballpark. Maybe they’re scouts from the front office, looking to call up some young talent to the big leagues. Or maybe they’re newspapermen covering a local team that sits three games ahead in first place. Or perhaps they’re a couple fans that showed up early to enjoy a good smoke and an afternoon of sunshine and nine innings. Something about time spent with young men clad in pinstripes, the crack of a bat, and the scent of freshly cut grass that can put a guy into a three-hour meditative trance. Whoever they are, they’re not bothering anybody and there isn’t an usher asking the men to put out their cigars. In fact, the catcher running by who is backing up first base on a grounder, is savoring the sweet smell of finely aged, blended tobacco. This scene is a wonderful slice of Americana and oh how I’d love Rod Serling to come along and plant me on that bench for an afternoon of Twilight Zone delight.

ryancardBaseball season is about to start and I always get a major league bout of nostalgic goodness at the beginning of every spring. But in this day of free-agent lunacy and hundred million dollar contracts, my mind drifts back to 1969, when my beloved Mets did the unthinkable, beating the powerhouse Baltimore Orioles in five games to win the World Series. I’d be perched in front of the TV, baseball 7858cards lined up in the player’s positions as I awaited Bob Murphy and Lindsay Nelson to make s the calls. The names were Tom Seaver, Jerry Grote, Nolan Ryan, Jerry Koosman, Ed Kranepool, Buddy Harrelson, Ron Swoboda, Tommy Agee, and Cleon Jones and they were bigger than life to a ten year-old kid from northern New Jersey. Sorry Yankee fans, even back then you were the Evil Empire in a young boy’s eyes (lol.)

And now my 15 year-old, Tommy, a throwback, two-sport athlete, begins his first season of baseball as the starting right fielder for his freshman high school team. He’s had a great couple of scrimmages, showing the coach a few of sparkling catches and going two for three with two walks at the plate. I started my son playing both baseball and hockey at five years old and watching him grow to this higher level is an absolute joy. Will anything ever come of his sporting endeavors? I really don’t know for sure, but I just stay in the present and enjoy the hell out of every moment that life presents me.

newark_bearsLastly, here in New Jersey, a bevy of minor league teams and brand new mini ballparks have cropped up over the last decade. Watching these kids give it everything they’ve got in exchange for a six-dollar ticket is tremendous fun for me and the family.

For those of us in the northeast who have been pelted with flooding rains and buried in unusual snowfall, the warm weather is just about here and America’s SomersetPatriotspastime is about to rear it’s wonderful head once more. This spring and summer I will spend many an evening on the patio with the torches lit, my favorite cigar, a pour of scotch, and sounds of major league baseball on the radio. Damn, just reading back over my words has me overcome by a heavy wave of nostalgia. I’m ready and waiting for another season to find out that age-old question that is yet to be answered, “Who’s on First?”


Have a great week and remember Frank, a man whose unbridled passion for cigar making made it possible for all of us to enjoy a premium handmade smoke. Rest in Peace, our brother.

Tommy Z

JR Cigars Blog With the ZMan

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