Wednesday, January 13, 2010

When Baseball was Saved

Baseball Reborn
(by R.P.Edwards)

Baseball was gasping
And poor
The war of the greedy
Kept fans
From the door
But then Mark and Sammy
In epic display
In sportsmanlike battle
Brought forth a new day
And hope was rekindled
And childhood…found
When joy was a ball…and a bat…and some ground
And for a time
All was pure
All was true
All was sweet
Till sin was revealed
And laid at their feet
And the mighty…bowed low
Exposing…mere men
Who…for a time
Made us children…again

And so Mark McGwire, the new batting coach for the St Louis Cardinals, has finally admitted to using performance enhancing drugs during his playing days.  In hindsight it was kind of obvious.  The guy was huge! and it was, at the time, jokingly suggested to him that Popeye wanted his forearms back.  But, he sure could send that ball flyin.’ And we loved it.  And we loved him.

Steroids, the chemical aid that makes you big and bad…in no time.  It’s a shortcut, a cheat, a quick fix, and it comes with a boatload of potential side effects…especially for the young.  And that, dear reader, is what makes its use by professional athletes, so damning.  Little Johnny idolizes Big Mac and wants to be just like him.  And so he begs, “Give me the juice!”

But, this little piece is not another slug adding his weight to the pig pile.  No, on the contrary, I’d like to thank Mr. McGwire, and his worthy opponent, Sammy Sosa, for saving baseball.  You see, it all goes back to the end of the ’94 season, stretching into ’95.  The owners and players were at an impasse…over money.  And so, as they squabbled and scrapped, these “millionaires” threw their “fans” under the proverbial team bus and left the communal “we” hating these ungrateful, forgetful, pampered prima donnas (in suits “and” pinstripes) and, even though they finally worked out their little tiff; we had had enough of the shallow souls who dared to defile “our” precious game.

Now, enter the ‘98 season and the battling titans, Mark and Sammy.  One, after glorious another, they sent that little white ball screaming over the fences.  And, with each successive swing; with each explosion of leather and lumber, with each violent waving of the slugger’s magic wand; we, the public, found ourselves entranced, enthralled, and slowly but surely captivated by the pastime that once owned our hearts.  And so, baseball was saved, and all but forgotten was the strike that, just a short time before…had wantonly struck us to the very core.

Well, since that time, revelations of the chemical enhancements have brought us down a bit.  But, compared to the strike…it is merely a flesh wound.  Sure, they shouldn’t have done it.  And yes, safeguards are necessarily now in place.  But, their individual demons that drove them to such great lengths in order to excel…this we can understand.  And yes, contrition is necessary.  And absolution?  I think it would do all of us well… to visit that place.

But, there is one aside that needs mention.  One little point to ponder.  The U.S. Congress.  Yes, our lofty legislators who deemed it necessary to bring the steroids problem to the front of the line.  Oh, how they pontificated and posed and pounded the podium!  Oh, how they, with cameras rolling,  righted this great egregious wrong!  But, while they placed the Band-Aid on the already healing wound; behind them, seething, and slithering beneath their legislative desks was the money based cancer that, due to gross neglect, has brought this nation to the very brink of insolvency.  Perhaps, in hindsight, they could have used their time a little more wisely.  Perhaps, while they sought to restrict the sins of others; perhaps they should have sought first for themselves…the confessional.  And then, with conscience clear… done the works of true repentance.  For, compared to the our present difficulties, the baseball strike seems as nothing.  And, I’m afraid, it will take much more than Mark and Sammy…to get us out of it.

That’s all I got.  What do you think?  Click comments below…and say.

Also, a reader has some excellent photos on display.  Check them out at:

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