Sunday, February 20, 2005

Baseball and Steroids
Sadly, a Google search will turn up 1,200,000 entries on this subject. Much worse is the fact that many High School and College athletes now believe this is how to get ahead in Sports and in Life. Too bad they fail to understand they'll have uncontrollable fits of rage as well as shrinking testicles from doing Steroids.

Am I still a fan of Baseball? Yes, it is the favorite game of my youth and the only one I can afford to go and see live. The best seats to me are in the bleachers at Yankee Stadium. You pay $8 to sit on a bench with a bunch of rabid fans who have a series of organized cheers that would make the Duke University student section proud. Their first cheer is my favorite. It occurs when the Yankees take the field to start the game. The "Bleacher Creatures" as they are called chant the names of each of the Yankees one at a time. Each Yankee will then turn around and leisurely tip his cap and smile. The sheepish look of delight on some of the Yankees' faces is priceless. I imagine they are standing there on the field saying to themselves, "I can't believe they pay me this much to play a game that so many in the stands would play for free." The more reflective players realize this adulation won't last forever so they soak it up while they can, and hopefully they bank most of the salary. I would be hard pressed to find anybody who, if given the same chance, would turn down the money and fame.

Is the game of Baseball too slow? Yes, I admit I can't watch a game from beginning to end. Though I do find it reassuring that I can check back from time to time and not feel left out. And there is no other game that can be listened to on the radio the way baseball can. This is one of its most enduring charms.

In sum, I'll turn to Hollywood to help me define my love for Baseball. This is from "Field of Dreams" and is spoken by James Earl Jones to Kevin Costner near the end of the movie:

The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh... people will come Ray. People will most definitely come.

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