“The state of baseball is the barometric pressure of America’s soul” (Victor Alexander Baltov, Jr. 2010)
Therapy time is needed as I attempt to separate myself from the farcical attempts of Donald Trump to kidnap my country. As I witness his fusillade of blame to disgrace the tenets of democracy in the 2016 Presidential debates, I have turned to baseball as an outlet to soothe my anger. As Trump’s unconstructive bigotry and shame continues in the final month leading to the 2016 Presidential election , I find optimism that American greatness will counteract such political negativism in the October playoffs of major league baseball.
Last night, the heavily favored Boston Red Sox fell to the Cleveland Indians in the final game of the American League Division Series. In spite of the disappointment, Fenway Park attendees remained seated on a cold night to honor David Ortiz, their great Dominican slugger, who would retire after this game. Fittingly, Big Papi would humbly doff his hat and acknowledge the crowd with tears in his eyes.To win a baseball game became secondary at that moment for these fans who remained to pay homage to the extraordinary baseball achievements that Ortiz had brought to Red Sox Nation in the past 13 years.
On the other side of the field, the victorious Cleveland Indians celebrated with childlike zeal in the visitor’s locker room. Donning tee shirts with the emblem, “Respect Cleveland”, Indians fans everywhere realized that these young men played together as a team to win a chance of World Series glory for their city in this challenging road environment. Leading this inspiring effort was Terry Francona, a true player’s manager, who treats each player as individuals, yet nurtures the strong team unity that was critical to this team’s success this year.
While many people perceive the “grand old game” of Major League Baseball as obsolete to today’s fast paced times, it provides an enduring example of racial/ethnic/gender opportunity for all in our country today. Witness the passion of tragically passed Cuban emigrant, Jose Fernandez, striving to prove his value as a starting pitcher for the Miami Marlins in order to achieve the “American Dream.” Take note that African Americans like Dusty Baker and Ron Washington could rise from player status to become winning managers of their respective ball teams. Observe the efforts of Red Sox great Pedro Martinez making use of his bilingual skills to subsequently become a baseball analyst nationwide on TBS network. Give attention to Jessica Mendoza , who broke gender barriers to become the first female analyst on ESPN network to broadcast postseason major league baseball.
Thus, this simple game of “ball meets bat” provides evidence that victory will be earned through heroic individualism, team play, and respect for diversity. A win for my favorite team each night would most assuredly be sweet, yet I yearn in any game outcome, to find evidence of my country’s commitment to these ideals in our precious democracy.