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!!