Over the course of this year I have been honored to write about my favorite sport and America’s pastime for the passion blog. Baseball is one of the only things that can bring me through my darkest days and remind me of the good there is in the world. There is brilliance and art in the sport of baseball that I just love to see. I am also a theater and politics enthusiast and in a play called “Take Me Out” the three come together brilliantly.
In one monologue a character discusses how baseball is just like democracy. In a way the character says baseball is better. “Baseball is better than democracy – at least than democracy as it is practiced in this country – because unlike democracy, baseball acknowledges loss. While conservatives tell you, “Leave things alone and no one will lose,” and liberals tell you, “Interfere a lot and no one will lose,” baseball says, “Someone will lose.” It is a brilliant way of comparing the two things that keep me going in the world. Baseball isn’t just as American as democracy, it’s almost more. A simple way of looking at America is there are winners and losers. Sometimes democracy shows that and sometimes it doesn’t. There is no electoral college in baseball. The teams battle for supremacy and the better team wins. Not the better overall, just the team that plays better baseball that day. Everyone gets a seat at the table and everyone gets the same chance to succeed. It is as democratic as a sport can get and these are some of the reasons I’m drawn to it’s magic.
For me baseball is also a rich history of a game. It isn’t just Willie Mays’ Basket Catch, Endy Chavez’s catch in Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS, or Derek Jeter’s amazing play in the 2001 ALDS. These plays are brilliance in the diamond. They are art in my eyes. Watching Ozzie Smith play shortstop is as enjoyable to me as watching Gene Kelly dance. Watching Ozzie Smith play shortstop is basically a dace. Then of course there is the art of the swing. The most beautiful sound in the world is a well-hit baseball. The most beautiful thing in the world is Ken Griffey Jrs swing. To become a master at the glove or the bat is an incredible feat. To do it like these guys and you could be immortalized forever in Cooperstown, New York.
Of course there is Cooperstown, New York, where every few years I take a trip to pay homage to my heroes. Jackie Robinson, Roberto Clemente and Tom Seaver, just to name a few of the stars I go and marvel at their careers as men and as ball players. Baseball is a dream. Everyone is equal and everyone has the same chances. Every game, hit, play, strikeout, walk, every little thing has to be earned. Baseball is what’s best about America in a 2-hour contest which switches from art to the greatest feats of athleticism. The rich history of baseball and rich traditions of the game make it one of the great joys in my life. It’s theater, it’s politics, it’s history, it’s art. It’s baseball and its one of the most beautiful things to watch and for me to write about and have in my life.