Monday, February 13, 2017
A Day In The Anti-Life - Spring Training!
There's no doubt that Baseball has lost its luster from its heyday decades ago, having been surpassed by the immensely more violent game of Football, at least in America. But for me there's little doubt which game is the more ideal and for that matter the more idealistic. In many ways Baseball is much that is good about America and Football sadly reflects much that is not so good. As the late George Carlin so eloquently examined decades ago the two games are exceedingly different.
Football is a game which is much more militaristic in its design and implementation, while Baseball seems more pastoral and less rigid. One is guided by strict lines and close measurements and each stadium is exactly the same in proportions, while Baseball plays on fields which vary in size and often what is fair and foul is merely what the eye beholds at a moment in time. Baseball is much more about the individual being part of a team but not sublimating himself or herself to it, while Football mostly makes men identical from near and afar, and when a player sets himself apart it's usually a bad thing.
I say that to say this -- rarely have I more felt the need for the refreshing breeze of Spring Training, which begins this week with the arrival of pitchers and catchers. It is for me the most perfect time in all of sport when all teams have equal chance to grab the ring and begin a long and winding road to the ultimate goal, but with Baseball more than any other sport it is the journey which matters often more than the ultimate prize. While only one team can ever win the World Series, many teams can have measures of success depending on how their plans unfold, and players can have great seasons regardless often of how successful their teams ultimately are. To that extent Baseball offers more hope to its fans than any other game, more ways to win.
We need that in these grim times. I've grown much more hopeful (within a narrow range of hopefulness to be sure) that the administration of our current "so-called" President will follow a more or less normal pattern. I will not like policy decisions, but we got a sense when the courts slapped the administration up side the head that our Constitution still functions and will outlast the current regime. And there are even signs, meager though they be, that the Republicans in Congress are about to rouse from their drunken fits of avarice to poke back at abuses which demand attention and response. We are seeing that the new "so-called" President and his White House cronies have encountered the other branches of government and found that their roughshod approach to people management might not really work all the time.
As our homegrown Nero plays with his matchbook, we now have something more alluring to catch our attention (we know Nero hates to not be the center of attention), a game which ironically is very much driven by immigration, especially immigration from Spanish-speaking nations to the South. There's hope in the land. We have Baseball. It's a good day, or at least a better day to be an American.