As the World Series is closing in, it’s time to remember a little bit.

Does anyone remember Grantland Rice? He authored quite a few books about sports. And he is the guy who said:

“It’s not whether you win or lose. It’s how you play the game.”

That’s how we used to feel about our national pastime.

Ebbets Field, over looking Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn, New York, was my field of dreams. Harry Truman, then Dwight Eisenhower would issue special remarks about the significance of each new baseball season. It was bi-partisan stuff and it pulled Americans together in the love of that greatest pastime.

Each spring, hope sprung eternal.


Growing up as a kid from Brooklyn, there were my beloved Dodgers. The Bums, one of 16 teams in the Major Leagues. Eight teams in each league playing a 154 games during the regular season.  We could identify the players on all the teams, including the batting orders. We respected opposing players, like Stan “The Man” Musial, Willie Mays, Henry Aaron, Mickey Mantle, and Bob Feller. Rivalry wasn’t war. It was part of the game and you cheered the winners, even when it wasn’t your team.

A young Vin Scully, Mel Allen, Red Barber, Harry Caray, and Jack Buck were prominent voices carrying the games across the country. St. Louis was the west coast. Virtues — not vices — were extolled. The pennant winners went directly to a September World Series.

Most games were played during the day, giving kids a chance to follow everything. World Series champions were special guests on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” Too often, they were the dreaded New York Yankees, but we still applauded. They were heroes. We respected them for their prowess. That was baseball when our world was young.

Everything has changed. Nowadays, there are too many teams and many more games. The season is like a Eugene O’Neill play, a long day’s journey into night.

The Prez Race has become like the modern baseball season. Spencer Tracy’s “fictional” Boston Mayor foretold these changes in “The Last Hurrah”, 60 years ago. You can see the section of that movie HERE at this TCM Movie site.

Tracy’s candidate would just be shaking his head now. It has all come true. Truer than true and worse than we imagined possible.

There’s the monumentally long regular beisbol season. You do everything you can to reach the post season. Lots of players are injured or burned out by the time the season’s winding up (or down, depending on which teams you are following) to the big finale.

The Post Season is the General Election race.

The World Series are the final campaign days. The hottest team of the moment will win it all with the best strategy — and a little luck.

Dwight David Eisenhower, president and previously, Allied Commander for WW2 (and the only U.S. President to also have won an Oscar) wanted to be a baseball player. Another time, another world.

JFK was a game changer.

Obama was Jackie Robinson.

Orange Head — Ty Cobb wins it all!!

In beisbol jargon, next year is 2020.

Grantland Rice is turning over in his grave.

Let’s sign some good free agents. Maybe next season we’ll get a win!!

Author: Garry Armstrong

As a reporter for Channel 7 in Boston for 31 years, I was witness to most of the major events affecting the region. I met a lot of people ... politicians, actors, moguls, criminals and many regular folks caught up in extraordinary situations. Sometimes, I write about the people I've met and places I've been. Sometimes, I write about life, my family, my dogs and me. Or what might otherwise be called Life.


    1. Ben, I’m keeping low, trying to avoid the lunges of your pal, Duke. He’s whacko, Ben. I can see it in his eyes.

      Actually, I am enjoying this beisbol post season. With the Red Sox ousted, I have no emotional investment. I can just just watch and enjoy the games and the players. Hey, I even appreciate “The Baby Bombers”. Never in the wide, wide world of sports did I ever expect to hear this Brooklyn native utter those words.


    1. And we are glad. Note that the Yankees are not our team — ever– but we are from New York, so they are a lot more “our” team than Cleveland. Also, Garry is charmed by their enthusiastic young players. He likes them and like me, he wishes they were OUR team! We wouldn’t mind if they won it all.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Lois, yes, the Yankees won. As I just commented to Ben, I am ‘appreciating’ the “Baby Bombers”. It’s an all new edition of the Yankees, full of young players from their farm system. I can view them anew from those old Yankees like A-Rod who I “detested” as a loyal Red Sox fan. As a life long fan of the game, I can appreciate, enjoy players and games even if my team is not involved. Actually, it’s easier if “my” team isn’t involved. Now, wait til next year, Red Sox Nation!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. It’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game…..

    Why is that not flashed upon all the Jumbotron screens at the start and end of every sports game ever played?

    Seems most fans who go need the reminder – loud and often.

    Maybe we could do with something similar at the beginning and end of every news bulletin too (and before and after ad breaks instead of those pointlessly stupid station identification flash ads/promotions)


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bob, the fans are a separate matter. First, there are the cretins who exhibit boorish behavior hoping for 10 seconds of camera time. I blame the TV suits for ordering the crews to give them that time while the dim watts in the booth tell us how funny it is.

      Liked by 1 person

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