(My entry for today in the National Blog Every Day event….)

 

I watched the World Series this year … almost saw every inning of every game.  I haven’t done that in a long, long time.  I watched the two teams work hard for every hit, for every out, for every single pitch and catch.  Ultimately, as is written down in the baseball annals forever, the Red Sox defeated the Cardinals, winning 4 games to 2.

 

I have loved baseball all my life, and what I saw in this World Series is a good chunk of why.  The history of the game, the realism of baseball as a metaphor for life – it’s all there.

 

Baseball can stroll along – no exciting plays, no big hits, no stunning strikeouts – just like life.  We’ve all had those routines that continue day to day of getting up, getting to work, performing the daily chores.

 

But then baseball can surprise, just like life.  Would you have predicted the two finishes we saw in this World Series?  I mean, really, look at it… the Cardinals won a game on an interference play at third base.  The very next day, the Red Sox put one in the win column with a pickoff play at first base.  These totally surprising outcomes amazed everyone, just like those events in our ‘regular’ routine – a surprise visit from a friend, getting a bonus at work, winning the lottery.

 

Then there’s the sense of history that these two teams bring us.

 

Boston:  Babe Ruth pitched here – yes, PITCHED for the Red Sox, and then got traded to the Yankees.  Fenway Park – the old grandfather of baseball parks… Manager Joe Cronin, Ted Williams – and from my days of growing up and watching baseball, there’s Jim Lonborg and Carl Yastrzemski and then this recent amount of success with David Ortiz (a former Minnesota Twin) bringing home the MVP of the series.  One of my first professional baseball autographs was their shortstop Rico Petrocelli… and then the long story of the BABE RUTH CURSE, going so long with no post season appearances for decades and decades.

 

St. Louis: The Gashouse Gang.  The Dean Brothers, Dizzy and Daffy.  Red Schoendienst…. And my favorite Cardinal of all time, Stan Musial.  I never had much of a taste for the National League, but if any team caught my attention, it was the Cardinals.  Nobody could chuck that ball like Bob Gibson, and even in 1987, when the Twins defeated them in the World Series; I still held a level of respect for that year’s Cardinal team.

 

So give me baseball – a 162 game season, a post season of great games, and even some excitement as the trading season passes and the big free agents are signed at the owners meetings, usually in early December – right around my birthday.  (Delightful aside:  the Twins, my favorite team ever and always, signed Dave Winfield on my birthday…).

 

Every year, I die a little when the last pitch of the World Series occurs… and I am reborn again every year when the opening day of Spring Training hits the newspapers.

 

Long Live Baseball.*

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