“The Objective of the game is to be safe at home.”
I think for me, the title of this blog says it all. Meaning, baseball is more than just a game to me. Like many sports fans, it is my santuary, my escape, my “church” as Annie Savoy (Susan Sarandon’s character from the greatest baseball movie ever; Bull Durham) so eloquently states in her opening monologue. Her description of that searching all of us go through to find some sort of deeper connection to that great “something”, captures the essence of what that means to me perfectly.
Unfortunately, this never hits home harder for me than this time of year. With the postseason in full swing, the first time you notice a slight or subtle chill in the air. To me; it marks the slow, yet rapid approach of winter and all of its bleak glory. I tend to call it; “the dark times.”
But! All is not lost. The aforementioned onset of Autumn and postseason being in full swing also brings great excitement. The possibility of what will happen? What great moments will occur? What unsung hero will emerge? Ultimately collimating with one team hoisting the Commissioner’s Trophy, and being crown “kings of the world” for at least a season. This is the absolute beauty of this game. Say a guy slumping going into the postseason. At the beginning of it, all is erased and everyone starts back at zero. Said slumping gentleman can go a tear and become hot. What was once an 0 for 15, can become a 15 for 30, throw in some RBIs, —and in this day and age— and probably a home run or three, and there ya go! A postseason legend is born!
The guys tend to give me a hard time about being “the stats guy”, but to me, —again, these are my thoughts— they are important benchmarks. I often say; “it’s the hardest thing to do in professional sports; hit a baseball.” And that quote is exactly the reason I bring them up so much. They are numbers that represent something in a game that is so frequently, so gut wrenchingly difficult to succeed in. There is a reason we bring up those majestic numbers such as 3000 hits, 500 home runs, and being a career .300 hitter. In order to be a .300 career hitter you have failed 7 out of 10 times. What else on the planet could you be considered successful , let alone great??
I know these are all points I have made repeatedly on episodes of RRCBP before. But to me, I can’t state them enough; its perfection in all of its imperfections, the smell of the grass, the intelligence of it, the chatter of the stands, the art of failure. These are the quintessential reasons that make up my long love affair with this game. That, and of course, being safe at home.