At bat

NOTES AND COMMENTS

April 03, 2000|By John O'Ren

GENERAL MANAGER Schulz won't be present this opening day, but the Charlie Brown All-Stars are just as ready as they ever are.

Linus Van Pelt at second, Snoopy at short, Lucy Van Pelt lolling in center, her other brother Rerun sucking on his milk bottle in left, Schroeder crouched behind the plate.

See them tense up as, on the mound, Charlie rears back to fling the first pitch of the new season. And now the enemy's leadoff man hits it high and far enough to reach the warehouse, on the fly.

Wait. What warehouse? There was no right field warehouse in the Peanuts comic strip -- right? Why wouldn't Sparky Schulz, growing up in St. Paul, Minn., have favored the Saints and modeled the gang's field after their stadium?(Later, living in Petaluma, Calif., he could have emulated the Giants' park.)

And why is Linus, rounding the bases in the accompanying Schulz drawing, linked to the Baltimore Orioles?

Years ago, Schulz's young son Craig idolized a player: Luis Aparicio, the White Sox shortstop. When Luis was traded to Baltimore, dad agreed to wish the Orioles well. (The Orioles won the 1966 World Series.)

Back to Linus, and his great coordination: Remember the day he is playing outfield, and another enemy bat connects with one of Charlie's groovers? Linus drops his security blanket, climbs the fence, dashes into a nearby building, reaches out an open window --- and catches the ball.

Linus, do you do warehouses? February's obituaries for Charles M. Schulz skimped these baseball strips. His insight, his inventiveness were never greater. Holy smokes, that kid at shortstop, the one with the big nose and floppy ears -- he just clomped a line drive in his mouth!

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