Baseball Calms my Soul and Makes Me Smile

Yes, I know. Many of you think it is too slow. Next time you get a chance go to a batting cage and if they will let you, turn up the machine to be throwing 100 mph fast balls. Still too slow? Once you understand how hard it is to hit a round ball with a round bat, the rest of the game starts to come into focus. What’s the pitch count? What’s he likely to throw? Based upon the pitch, where is the ball likely to go? What is going on on-base? Actually there is so much going on that it boggles the mind.

Last night I was in nirvana. The Dodgers were at the Giants and the Padres were playing Houston, both at the same time, both going into extra innings, both with amazing pitching and plays. I could not switch back and forth fast enough to get every pitch. Padres lost theirs in the 11th on a walk off infield pop up nobody caught. After all that, one little mistake…Giants won theirs in the fourteen with another walk off home run after one of the best at bats I have ever seen, fowling off pitch after pitch. I was exhausted. I like all those teams so there is joy and sadness when it is over.

Baseball is our spring, summer and fall game. It is not about busting heads, but great plays, great pitching, and great hitting. It is so summer to sit in the warm sun with a cold beer and no matter what is swirling around you, how screwed up the world is, here at the Park it is just great fun where the rules are respected, and so are the players. There is a civility about baseball that we seem to have lost in public affairs. Generally speaking we can go to the game with our friends who root for the other team and it is great fun for all of us. It is a game, not the end of the world.

The civility goes so much deeper than most understand. The players have for the most part climbed an arduous road to get to where they are. And they have to work hard to stay there, always learning. There is a great respect for each other. There are smiles and laughs between the players. There is the joy of young athleticism And then there are the unwritten rules. They are about respecting the game and respecting your opponent. If you are down by 7, it is the ninth inning, you don’t bunt into the shift. Doug Glanville wrote a great piece about them the other day.

The point is that it maintains our civility and perspective. It is an object lesson for what we have lost in politics today thanks to President DFF and his Republican friends whose new way of doing things breaks all the rules. Baseball reminds me of what we have lost, and that we can get it back. Watch these highly competitive young men play the game, and yet respect their opponents and honor the game, and it will make you feel good about yourself. It will make you feel good about the human race that could invent such a game and play it with such integrity.

Yes I love baseball and it is the end of my winter of discontent when spring arrives and they throw out that first ball. As I watch the boys of summer, I remember that the human race really isn’t so bad, maybe for a little while. Sit in the sun, get a dog and a beer, smell the grass, smile at your neighbor, sit back and just experience it. Yes, I love baseball.

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