William Katz: Getting to know you (not)

Billl Katz writes:

When I worked on The Tonight Show, years ago, I got to interview Roger Kahn, the great sportswriter. He’d just written The Boys of Summer, about the old Brooklyn Dodgers. For those of you too young to know, or kept from the truth by unbelieving professors, the Dodgers were a baseball team made up of Old Testament prophets who could lead their followers anywhere. If given a choice between taking the train to Ebbets Field to see the Dodgers play, and going to Heaven, many in the flock would have picked Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese and Duke Snider over the Lord himself. After all, the Lord couldn’t steal third base. Commandment problem.
Ebbets was the smallest park in the majors, and that played a role in its charm. You got up close to the players. As Kahn put it in our talk, “You got to know what they were like.” I knew that Kahn was correct. I’d gone to Ebbets Field many times as a kid. I got to know what they were like, and often, during batting practice, some of the guys would come over and talk to the kids. I remember leaving Ebbets after a game, and seeing Reese’s wife leaning against her Pontiac, waiting for her husband to come out. A real guy married to a real wife, with keys to a real American car, and not a sports agent or lawyer in sight. Remarkable.
I thought of that interview, and those times, while watching a TV report on the election campaign. We’re about to start voting in primaries, and yet one of the most common gripes you hear is that people don’t feel they know the candidates. They don