On a Beach Walk: #68 (Baseball – The Game)

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(Part 1 of 3)

I like walking the beach. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

I think about the national past-time – the grand ol’ game of baseball.

Yes, baseball – that mathematical ballet played on a green diamond found in a variety of geometric shapes.

Yes, baseball – that timeless game often mirroring society.

Baseball –  the game without a clock – which is contradictory to the hectic nature of today’s everyday life – a life requiring time management and electronic calendars.

Baseball – a game that is more subtle than obvious. A game with a ball controlled by the defense; but hitting the ball causes each defender to move to a place of calculated efficiency in order to prevent something from happening. Yes – baseball is chess on grass.

Baseball – a game of definitives – win or lose – ball or strike – safe or out – fair or foul – most, of which, an independent arbiter decides.

To some, baseball is a kids game played by men – but to me, baseball is a man’s game kids play as they dream of becoming a summer icon.

To its loyal fans, baseball is a game of hope designed to break one’s heart – yet the same hope acts as restoration because tomorrow is a new day and the chance to make amends.

Baseball – played on heavenly green cathedrals for the loving souls. From the fan’s and player’s perspective, yes – truly a Field of Dreams. Not the one beside the cornfield, but the ones with the highly manicured brilliant green grass. Every fan remembers the first time their eyes saw major league grass – the green that forever sticks to one’s soul. Mine was Crosley Field in Cincinnati – Reds vs. Giants in the mid 1960s. Yes, my Reds won that night.

Baseball – a game of anticipation, but with anticipation comes waiting. To me, the young focus on anticipation, but as we age, there is a shift to waiting – yet, baseball provides both.

Baseball – a game filled with artistry – the fluidity of a 6-4-3 double play – the athleticism of an outfielder leaping to catch the ball before clearing the wall for a homerun – a catch that delivers relief to some, but heartache to others.

Baseball – the masterfully pitched game that befuddles batters is a work of a master craftsman – a brilliant painter. A few of the best hitters are professional batsmen who actually fail 2 out of 3 times is pure music.

Baseball – whose exclusion of Blacks spawned the Negro Leagues – and whose inclusion closed them – yet, let us not forget Moses Fleetwood Walker.

Baseball – the game that mirrors society. It’s segregated past broken by Jackie Robinson 17 years before Congress passed the Civil Rights Act.

Baseball – a game and a business. Greedy owners and players wanting more is nothing new – actually, close to the age of the professional game. That happens in business – yet today, players act in accordance to their own business decisions. Sadly, the days of a distinguished career in one uniform is slim – but not out.

Baseball – a game that challenges our patience, something that walking the beach does not do because walking the beach is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

54 thoughts on “On a Beach Walk: #68 (Baseball – The Game)

  1. Baseball is just not a sport played here Frank, and I have to confess I have never watched a game. But reading the way you describe it here, certainly makes me wish I had
    “that mathematical ballet played on a green diamond”. That is so beautiful, and I love how you describe how the game is so much more than just a game. Wonderful!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Rachel,
      Knowing that baseball is sporadic globally, I was hoping you would see this post just to gauge your reaction …. and you came through! 🙂 This is the first of 3 in a row about the subject, so hope you visit.

      Liked by 1 person

        • It is more than a game – after all, it is known as the national pastime – although these days that’s probably only true for older generations and those who understand its history. Part 2 is up … and Part 3 will be up for your Wednesday morning.

          Like

  2. My earliest memory of baseball is hearing Waite Hoyt broadcast the games while my dad sat listening at the kitchen table on a transistor radio. Waite Hoyt and Hudepohl Beer commercials! I can recall some of the late 50s players, but I started watching more religiously in 1960 when Pittsburgh beat the Yankees in the World Series on a dramatic walk off home run from Bill Mazeroski. Then came Fred Hutchinson and the 196i Reds!

    Baseball today has changed so dramatically. I am not a fan of analytics, Home Run Derby, and the 5 inning pitcher. I miss speed, defense, bunting, stolen bases, and the one or two power hitter lineup. Maybe they will return one day.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I so LOVE baseball too. Loved it as a kid, a major Yankee fan. I love the tales of Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle. Loved the film Field of Dreams and the book it was taken from, Shoeless Joe. Love reading Asinof’s, 8 Men Out about the Black Soxs scandal. I remember my mother and I watching the world series, one of the few nice memories I have of us together. The Yanks were it. I really enjoyed this post Frank. Took me back to more innocent times at the now no more, House that Ruth built. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Merril,
      You have demonstrated that one doesn’t have to be a fan to appreciate the post. Besides, you also provided support through one of your passions – Broadway! I didn’t know this one. Many thanks! I read that the setting is early 1900s, so it makes perfect sense. 🙂 Well done!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I never stopped to even think that baseball is a game without a clock. When that sank in, I began to think of all the other sports that depend on clocks and only baseball stood out as solely one without a clock. Sadly, baseball does not have the interest as it did years ago. Too boring? Not enough action? No clock … what do you mean no clock? This game could last forever! Time …. when so many are so rushed to do this that and the other. Baseball …. I remember eating popcorn, relaxing, getting excited, holding my breath, hoping, getting those hopes crashed, screaming, moaning, and always amazed by how many people were in the stands. Not so today. Yet I carry those memories with me …..

    Liked by 1 person

    • AmyRose,
      Glad this walk was able to tap into your memory bank. Yes – that’s what the game does to fans – so many thanks for sharing.

      By no clock, I think about other major team sports (like hockey, football, basketball, soccer), which have clocks. Timed quarters, periods, or halves … then eventually the game is over when the clock hits zero – but not in baseball. Of course today they have a clock on the pitcher.

      Personal lives are different today than they were in the past. Life seems so rushed, but being a game without a clock, it can be a sanctuary away from rushed madness. Then again, many think “I want 2 hours at the game then go home” … you know … fits into the rushed world.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. What a great post about baseball! Standouts for me were “Baseball – a game filled with artistry – the fluidity of a 6-4-3 double play,” “Baseball – the masterfully pitched game that befuddles batters is a work of a master craftsman – a brilliant painter,” and “. . the days of a distinguished career in one uniform is slim – but not out” (Yeh Joey Votto, Yeh Reds!). I also enjoyed freezing the video on Hank Aaron’s smiling young face, Willie Mays hitting balls with the kids in the street, and Babe Ruth fouling a ball off his right foot (There is pain in the game, but it’s not the gladiator pain of football). And by the way, can you tell me the name of that handsome Brooklyn Dodgers ballplayer in 2:16-2:17 on the video?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tim,
      I knew you would enjoy this post. (Hope you noticed this is the first of 3)> As for the Dodger player, wow … that’s a fast clip … but I do have a guess – but it’s a guess – Dolf Camilli.

      Meanwhile, this video is filled with so many great clips. So many!

      Like

  6. Huh, I will need to see Baseball through other eyes for a minute or two. I have always found the game boring, truly. Despite both my sons played all the way from little league through High School, there is simply not enough ‘hits’ for me. Yes Frank, I do mean ‘hits’ in the most basic way, I like violence in my sports I am a primitive in that way.

    I did read a very interesting article recently though, I would love to know your thoughts. It was about one of the greats, Babe Ruth. The article proposed that Babe actually integrated Baseball first, that he was in truth a African American who hid his roots so he could play. I wish I could find the article for you, it was quite fascinating.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Frank,

    The math, as you point out . . it seems like a mystical equation when you look at the placements of the fielders and ALL that grass and dirt which surrounds them. Like . . how can they possibly cover all of that? And don’t get me started on shifts!

    Baseball is the game given to romance, like no other sport. And it’s because of its lack of a clock, and the idea that a game could, at least theoretically, go on indefinitely.

    And beautiful nod to Moses Fleetwood Walker,who was Jackie before Jackie.

    The game has mirrored society. From bigotry to drugs to greed, shameful marks against it that will never come out. But to which the game has always been able to rise above, and grow and change.

    The beauty is that it remains, in its simplest terms, the same game they were playing all the way back in the nineteenth century.

    I so enjoyed this walk, Cincy. Can’t wait for your next installment.

    Peace and baseball

    PS- PERFECT song

    Liked by 1 person

      • Loved this post.

        I remember reading Kinsella’s “The Iowa Baseball Confederacy” and being so immersed in the timeless quality of the game. Romantic as it gets, really.

        Imagine how tough an individual Walker had to be, playing ball inside that time with all white players. Not to mention all white crowds.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Branch Rickey knew what he needed in a player when he went with Jackie Robinson. Yes – I can’t imagine what they guys went through. Had a chance to visit the Negro League Baseball Museum in KC years ago. Absolutely loved it … so if you are ever in that area, definitely go!

          Hmmmm …. may have to put Kinsella book on the list!

          Liked by 1 person

        • He needed so much more than just a great player, because he knew the most daunting challenges for a great player like Jackie weren’t on the field.

          Principled, tough as hell and loyal. I believe it was Jackie who refused to move to LA when the Dodgers made their move cross country.

          Yes, that would be a must. I read so much about the Negro Leagues, and all those great players that never got a chance to play in the MLB. There were stories about how Josh Gibson could hit a ball out of the old Yankee Stadium. He compiled more than eight hundred home runs in his career. So many of those stories, it made me think. All these hallowed numbers I held to during the PED era running roughshod on them. But I never stopped to consider that segregation had arranged the ‘hallowed’ numbers as well- by omission.

          I fell in love with the way he wrote baseball.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. I have enjoyed a few baseball games.
    Professional sports: I agree about the greed, and loss of much dignity. Wasn’t there a time when the Home Town Team, were actually all players from the home town & not hired from anywhere and everywhere in the world?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. As a youth, I loved baseball. I loved the Big Red Machine and then, after we moved to Detroit, the Blessed Boys of Detroit. I went to some 30 plus games in old Tiger Stadium in the Summer of 1984 before I went off to school on the East Coast and watched them beat the Padres in five from afar. A decade later, I was still in love with the game, following both the Tigers and Reds and going to countless Orioles games down at Memorial Park on 33rd Street in Baltimore. Then, on my birthday in 1996, they went on strike. Millionaires fighting billionaires for more money while I was struggling on a teacher’s salary. With the players citing the need to “support their families.”

    I turned my back on those selfish you-know-whats and have never really come back.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff,
      Wow … quite the ups and downs about the game – yet very real. Yes, millionaires arguing with billionaires makes no sense. Ticket prices keep going up – player salaries keep increases – team owners are obviously doing well … whereas for we fans, going to the game is an expensive day. Unfortunately, it’s always been that way – but possibly getting worse. Thanks for sharing.

      Like

  10. You delighted me with this post, and the Fogerty song, Frank. We are a baseball family, for sure, although I must admit I’m not that transfixed. But I’m the minority. My husband was recruited to a minor league team 50+ years ago and likely could have gone somewhere with that based on talent, but life intervened. He’s still incredibly avid, however, as are both of our children, and one granddaughter”s pre-teen life revolves around softball. It’s a language we speak here. I appreciate baseball fully for the way it can bind a family in something that for the most part can be enjoyed as a wholesome activity. Fortunately I have one granddaughter that likes to go to the symphony with me. LOL! I am not a baseball fan, but i completely support it, and in fact, I’m a little envious of those who really embrace it. Great observations and interesting from a beach walk perspective. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Debra,
      Thanks for sharing you tie to the game. Love how you embrace it will not really being a fan. I hope Jay reads this (and the rest of the series) because I would like to know his thoughts.

      Like

  11. Hard to believe the ‘boys of summer’ will be arriving at their nearest training camp soon. I’m still in hockey mode and probably won’t fully get on board till after the All-Star break. Besides, following the local team is an exercise in futility which you know all about. Still, walking along with you is always a treat. Thank you for that!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Added for me … from Field of Dreams.

    The one constant through all the years has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a part of our past. It reminds us of all that once was good, and what could be again.

    Like

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