August 22, 2002

And now for something completely different
Baseball was the mysticism of my youth; the lore, the history was closely associated with the Communion of Saints in my mind. Babe Ruth was as real as Mike Schmidt; it was the sport where tradition mattered.

Over the past few decades baseball has proved (as if proof were needed) that any institution - be it law enforcement, a church, the Presidency of the United States - is only as good as society itself, the pool from which it can draw from to populate its human component. And while the past was no golden age, I resist notions that there are no moral differences between eras or that degeneration in society, as in individuals, is not possible. My father used to say that those things are cyclical, but just as the stock market can rebound and then go to "lower lows" so can a society. Look at ancient Rome. And I certainly recognize my part in that, given that I am not the person my forebears were.

So it should not be surprising that baseball has taken a hit too. The strikes are bad enough; the one in 1994 fundamentally changed the way I viewed the game. It changed from being an avocation to becoming "background music", a purely aesthetic experience beholding the green blades of astroturf beneath the sun. No longer did I care that much about statistics, or compulsively check boxscores. I quit collecting baseball cards. Inter-league play was another knife, because it showed the owners & players were on the same team on one score - anything for a dollar. That farce they call an All-Star game has been stripped of any meaning because the players no longer consider the other league that "great other". Mystery was shelved.

This coming strike is, therefore, much less painful. I was innoculated in '94 when the World Series was cancelled. They've so damaged the game that I now root for its destruction, so that something newer, cleaner and less expensive can take its place.

Bring on the wrecking balls!

No comments: