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Eighty-Nine in the Shade
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The temperature made it to ninety degrees (Fahrenheit) today, again. That makes about a dozen ninety degree days this summer, which is twelve more than we had all last year. Ninety isn't that common in our neck of the woods and it's about as hot as it gets.

The ninety degree days are bad enough but the eighty-nine degree days are the ones that get my goat. Ninety is a benchmark. The local weathermen will chatter about how many times the mercury has hit ninety for the year, and the month and how many days in a row. Ninety's an accomplishment. When you've been through a ninety degree day you've accomplished something. Eighty-nine is just misery. If it's going to be this hot, I root for ninety. I can't feel that extra degree, but I can brag about it.

Ninety, for the weather around here, is like a .300 batting average or twenty wins in baseball. (one hundred degrees would be like .400 or thirty wins - theoretically possible but pretty much unheard of) What chagrin I suffered as a kid when my favorite Phillies pitcher, Jim Bunning, fell short of twenty wins year after year. During the sixties he ended up at nineteen four times -- three of those times in a row.

All summer long I'd watch as the wins piled up, and up...and never quite reached the standard of excellence. Ah, how the injustice of it ate at my very soul. His splendid pitching all for naught, thanks to the ineptitude of his team mates. Damn you Johnny Herrnstein and Costen Shockley!

Little did I know Mr. Bunning was destined to become a right-wing senator from Kentucky. I feel a lot better about those 19's in the record books now.

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