Major League Baseball returned to my life yesterday and as usual, I am psyched. Some would question the game today as racist in origin, boringly missing action, and ill- fitted to today’s fast-paced times. Yet, this seemingly simple game of “bat meets ball” continually evolves to reflect the importance of free enterprise, cultural diversity and equal opportunity in today’s America that commands my ultimate respect. I can thus escape from my fears for this country resulting from our current Presidency by moving my body to a most recent version of America’s arguably favorite baseball song:
Big League Baseball in its present form exists as a welcoming game that embraces the inclusion of all. It propels an economically disadvantaged youth from inner city Miami to dream that perfecting his batting skills may enable him to escape the perils of poverty by gaining a fair tryout with a professional team. It inspires a “flame-throwing pitching prodigy from Cuba to cross a dangerous ocean on a rickety boat for a chance to continue playing the game that he loves in freedom. It provides a cathedral-like atmosphere to unite strangers from all “walks of life” to support the heroes of their local team.
Some interesting contrasts about American greatness present themselves now. As Donald Trump promises to build a “Great Wall” to isolate our country from outsiders, baseball promotes global unity by inviting International teams to the World Baseball Classic in Miami, Florida next week. As he “lowers the bar” each week for analyzing informative facts about important issues by incessant ranting on Twitter, baseball institutes live-stream, statistical innovations on MLB.com for allowing fans to critically analyze in-game progress as needed. As our new President negatively depicts our major cities as disastrous, urban wastelands, the two teams in last year’s World Series (Cubs, Indians) inspire hope that baseball can stimulate substantial economic growth and community spirit in our industrial heartland cities.
Many find it difficult to watch a baseball game in its entirety as their attention span shortens from the endless distractions of modern life. Yet one can appreciate the potential for inner solace by allowing the slow pace of each game to settle into their their mind. It seems evident that the pitch-by pitch grind of baseball innings played beckons us to feel more alive to life’s opportunities in thoughtful contemplation of the present. In baseball terms then, yesterday’s or tomorrow’s home run won’t win today’s game.