Baseball

We are half way through the season. How do we know that? Well, for one, we have just enjoyed the All Star Break, a four day period of rest, relaxation, and fun this year in Kansas City. Over 4 days we watched our favorite players in the Home Run Derby and then the American and National League stars square off against each other in the annual contest.
Baseball is a magical game. It is the most difficult of all sports. It is a game of failure. The champion batter at the end of the season will have succeeded getting on base only about one third of the times he went up to bat. The champion team will have won only about 6 games out of 10. Baseball is a game of “decades and years.” and in the words of the poet Donald Hall the game is “fathers playing catch with sons.” It is impossible to master the game; it is far too complicated, physically, mentally, emotionally and spitirually. The game begins at an early age, boys playing catch with their fathers in backyards and vacant lots, and continues through a long process of learning through Little Leagues, college leagues, semi-pro leagues and finally if a player is lucky he gets picked up by a Major League team. But it really only begins there. He has to look forward to spending time in the major league club’s instructional league, A, AA, AAA leagues and then if he is ready and can play the game on the major league level he gets called up to the “Bigs” or the “Show” as the major leagues are callled. During all this time the young player is learning the game. He has been learning the game since he was 6 years old. He will keep learning it until he dies. In the words of the great Charles Dillon (Casey) Stengel, “Now there are only three things that can happen in baseball: you can win, you can lose, or it can rain.” And in those 3 outcomes is a lifetime of learning. Johnny Pesky the famed Boston Red Sox outfielder was a spring training instructor for the Sox until he died last year at 92. Phil Rizzutto, “The Scooter”, famed New York Yankee shortsop, taught the arcane art of bunting well into his 80’s. And on every dugout bench sits the bench coach to give advice, counsel, and consolation to the manager usually 20 or so years his junior. No other sport works this way. It is still “fahters playing catch with sons.”

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