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Staying up late with the old man
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I had the pleasure of watching what the MLB Network — one of the greatest inventions ever — show the No. 1 selection in its “20 Greatest Games.”

I remember it vividly. Game 6, 1975 World Series, delayed by three days because of rain.

I could think of a few others that could give it a run for its money — Game 7 of the 1992 NLCS, even Games 6 and 7 of the 1991 World Series. I didn’t care for the result of the latter two games, but that doesn’t detract — much — from their splendor as art forms.

For Game 6 of 1975, the old man let me and my youngest brother stay up to watch. It was a school night, but this was the Red Sox. About 12:30, at all of 8 and not quite 9 years old, my lights turned out. I woke up to my dad and brother screaming as Carlton Fisk smacked one off the foul pole by the Green Monster. I was a bleary-eyed but happy little fella at Fort Stewart Elementary School the next day.

To this day, my brother never lets me forget two things. One, he’s played Augusta National and I haven’t. Two, I fell asleep before Fisk’s game-winning homer, and he didn’t. I have very little recourse against him, since he is a man of the cloth.

Our normal bedtime was 11 p.m. Even for Monday Night Football, it was bed at 11, no matter who was playing. We got to see the first half, hear Howard Cosell do highlights and see maybe the second half kickoff and the first series and that was it.

On a rare night back then when the Patriots were on Monday Night Football — this was the pre-Tom Brady days, even the pre-Tony Eason days, so they weren’t usually good — it was still in bed at 11. That night, as Baltimore’s Joe Washington ran through and around the Pats on a rainy night in Foxboro, it was probably a good idea.

A few minutes later, the door opened and the old man turned on the light. He rarely came into the room until it was time to get us up — a baseball bat to the end of the bed at 7 a.m. served as our alarm clock. He said John Lennon was killed. Dad was more of a Frankie Laine and Sinatra kind of guy; his kids, almost all of them, grew up huge Beatles fans.

On Friday and Saturday nights, we could stay up a little later. On Friday nights, it meant one thing — Johnny Carson. Even as kids, and when I say kids, I mean kids, like me being 7 and 8 years old and brother 11 and 12 at the time, we loved “The Tonight Show.”

Saturday meant the late-night horror show on Channel 22, hosted by Robin Graves and his brother, Diggin. Funny thing, though: that guy who did the weather on the 11 o’clock broadcast on  Channel 3 always looked and sounded a whole lot like Captain Sandy.

We’d get the “TV Guide” and comb through it, checking to see who was scheduled to be on. If it was someone good — George Carlin and a young David Letterman were our favorites — we’d plan how we were going to sneak out into the living room to watch.

Hey, with seven kids and four claustrophobic bedrooms, there was only going to be one TV in the house. Couldn’t afford more than one back then.

Fortunately, the hallway in our tiny quarters on Fort Stewart had a door at the end with a grate near the bottom. We would slowly open the door, combat crawl down the hall and peer through the grate. If the old man was asleep in his chair — we could see the chair through the grates and could tell if he was nodding off — the hallway door would open quietly, and we’d stay low until we got the end of the couch, about six feet away.

From the end of the couch, we could crouch down, out of the old man’s line of sight but with a view of the TV. If we got to laughing too loud, the old man would rouse from his slumber, bark out a “you kids get to bed” —his language was almost always peppered with far more salty choices — and we’d scamper off, breaking down the set we just watched like it was an NFL game, which jokes we liked, which joke setups didn’t work as well, etc.

Now, thanks to the wonderful invention of the Internet and YouTube and Netflix, we can watch those old standup routines anytime we want. Still kinda miss the lengths we went to back in the old days, though.