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What It Is Is Baseball

John W. Pinkerton


Believe it or not, I watched an entire baseball game the other night.  The Astros and the Dodgers were playing  in the  World Series.

I gave up on baseball years ago.  Although the drug-benefitted home run fest definitely turned me off, that wasn't my main reason for leaving  baseball.  It was football and basketball…mainly football.  There's a lot to be said for violence.

Frankly, if it weren't for fantasy football, I'm pretty sure my interest in pro football would have concluded years ago.  Before I began participating in fantasy football over twenty years ago, my interest was leaning toward nil.

Don't get me wrong, pro football can be immensely entertaining, but as one gets older, unless one has developed immense loyalty to a particular team, it becomes more and more difficult to relate to running and jumping and hitting people.  Just saying.

As I watched the games, I began to notice changes to the game.  Apparently they have done away with the batters box where the next batter up loiters.  That's probably a good thing which will prolong the life of batters.  I also noticed that having to pitch four balls to purposely advance a batter to first base has been done away with.  Good decision and about time.

But as I reluctantly watched the games---reluctantly because my wife is an Astro fan and my loyalty can be easily questioned---my old interest in baseball began to reemerge.

I recall when in grade school, we were allowed to listen to the games on the radio.  It was a treat for all the boys and, I suspect, the girls also.  This was back before television, and every boy had thoughts of their heroes playing.  It was either allow kids to listen on the radio or work with kids mentally in another city.

My favorite team as a kid was the Dodgers---not the LA Dodgers---the Brooklyn Dodgers.  They were never the same to me after they suddenly moved from my imaginary home, Brooklyn, to the sunshine of Los Angeles---not my imaginary home.

I was reminded as I watched the Series that a lot of the players are Hispanics---many from South American countries.  One in particular, Jose Altuve, the Astros’ second baseman, was  outstanding.  I believe he's a Venezuelan.  There are not a lot of Hispanics that are large enough to play football or tall enough to play basketball.   That's my story and I'm sticking to it.  Baseball is a sport they have long dominated.  Good for them.

We've long been aware that a number of NFL players are, at heart, thugs, but now we can add out-of-touch thugs.  Their insistence on protesting the treatment of Blacks by the police by taking a knee during the National Anthem is like a valedictorian presenting his or her speech filled with invective for everyone who helped to get him or her to the position as valedictorian.  It's a little classless and not much appreciated by the captured audience.


What some NFL players don't appreciate is that a lot of their fans are not fans of the individual players (free agency took care of this); they're fans of the teams.  A lot of folks are college graduates of schools with football teams, and they will always be loyal fans of “their” team.  Most NFL fans have favorite teams based on geography…not exactly a strong bond.

The NFL may awaken one morning to learn they are no longer America's game but just an also-ran in the hearts of Americans.


By the way, the Astros won in seven.