Like Persephone emerging from Hades, pitchers and catchers return to camp today in our annual rite of spring. This time the analogy is particularly apt as yesterday may have been the darkest day I have ever seen in baseball, uglier even than the many work stoppages, the Pete Rose scandal, this hearing predecessor. Think about this sad assessment: the greatest hitter and greatest pitcher I’ve ever seen are facing the very real possibility of prison for lying about enhancing their performance with illegal drugs.
Yet today, here we are again, the real addicts. We love baseball. And baseball will not be denied. Not by the pimps who sell it, from Selig on down to the jock sniffers who run MLBlogs. Not by the professional players and their union, who, like the pimps, are morally bereft.
No, we love the game. The game itself. The sound of wood on leather and leather on leather. Balls soaring through the air. Slides. Diving catches. Rounding the bases. A throw home.
Baseball has a life of its own. Bud Selig, with the typical arrogance underlying all of the professional game’s travails, takes credit for the popularity of baseball, but that’s like taking credit for life, or beauty, or any other good thing given by the good Lord.
Thank God for baseball.
For many baseball simming enthusiasts, December 11th is a holy day. That is the day Diamond Mind Baseball releases the season database for the past year. For the unenlightened, Diamond Mind is the baseball simulator created by sabermetric guru Tom Tippett, used by ESPN and others to forecast the upcoming season. Every year, pathetic souls like yours truly wait impatiently for our pre-ordered copy to arrive in our Inbox. Like eager children on Christmas Eve listening for sleigh bells, we waited last night for any sign the season was about to arrive. On the Diamond Mind forum, someone posts that their credit card has been hit, a sure sign Santa is on his way. Then the first lucky recipient posts “I got mine!”
Well, I got Mind! 8)
— Michael Norton
This weekend marks the 400th anniversary of Jamestown, marked by commemorations, galas, exhibits, re-enactments, official visits, books, movies, souvenirs and enough half-crocked pseudo history to condemn Jamestown to oblivion for another fifty years. The Queen’s visit was a reprise of the last big bash, in 1957, two years before this grandfather was born. These things need happen every generation. I remember clearly the 200th anniversary of 1776. We buried a time capsule with our John Henry’s for the next generation. I suffixed my name with esq. (Esquire. Bill and Ted were not even yet twinkles in some screenwriter’s eye at that point), hoping future folk had an appreciation of irony and a sense of humor my frowning teacher seemed lacking.
The Jamestown Quadracentennial will pale in comparison to the Civil War Sesquicentennial, approaching four years from now. Once again that great conflict in American history will push Jamestown into the nether reaches of memory.
One of the fundamental motivations for launching The Jamestown Site was in preparation for a long and eagerly awaited study of the Civil War. Jamestown was where it all began. In Jamestown, indentured servitude, used to repay passage to the New World, morphed into chattel slavery. In Jamestown, the seeds of an agricultural economy based on forced labor were sown and took root. In Jamestown, African slaves first arrived in America. The Civil War began in Jamestown.
And the modern game of baseball began in the Civil War.
— Michael Norton
Not that you would know from MLBlogs, where Jackie Robinson Day is observed by parading a Hollywood starlet sporting a sexy top with a Dodger logo to peddle a new clothing line, but fifty years ago this year Number 42 retired from baseball and devoted himself to pursuing civil rights for all Americans. That same year a young Queen came to America for the first time to participate in the celebration of the 350th anniversary of Jamestown, where slavery originated in this country. How much has changed in the intervening half century? From my vantage point here in the Historic Triangle, I have some peculiar observations in Fit for a Queen, my latest post on The Jamestown Site.
You may look differently at what is about to be the vanishing home run record in this Game of Shadows.
Erin Go Bragh and Happy belated St. Patty’s day to all. Didn’t do much except for drink a Guinness at the bowling alley. Saving money for the upcoming Boston trip where we’ll be catching the Red Sox vs. the Blue Jays. This was perhaps an unnecessary measure, as I hear that no one in their blues paid for their own drink last night!! cmn
Dia Duit. Hope you are enjoying your St. Patrick’s Day. I’m blessed to be Irish, although I don’t look it. The quarter Injun got the better of the half Irish in that respect. My son looks more Irish than I do, despite the fact that I’m more Irish: my father was the son of Irish immigrants and had that wonderful Gaelic accent. My grandson looks very Irish, like a little leprechaun, as a matter of fact, which is inexplicable considering he is less Irish than either his father or his father, and Devon, with his good Irish name, is half Indian (the real kind, from India). My granddaughter, Caerdwean-does it get anymore Irish?-has the dark hair and olive skin. Quare.
Methinks I’ll jar meself some green beoier…
Slán go fóill.
— Michael Norton
This was fitting. In 2004 they were clearly the best team in baseball, and lost. Like much of the country, I rooted for the Red Sox that year, and basically have regretted it ever since. I’ve been hoping for some recompense, and this year it was in the Cards. It was especially gratifying to see Eckstein crowned MVP; in many respects Eck epitomizes this year’s club. Enjoy it, Cardinal fans. You’re a class act.
— Michael Norton