Monday, August 24, 2009

more about baseball

If the bases were 89 feet apart there would be a lot more infield hits. There are lots of close calls at first base in most any game. Some of them result in arguments and even ejections by the umpires of those complaining. Just a foot difference would change the game greatly--so how did Abner Doubleday, who created the game, most agree, come up with 90 feet? Divine intervention? Go figure.

More and more, players come up to bat in body armour. They all, by rule, wear helmets, and many wear protective coverings on their shins, elbows and arms. Most everyone wears 'batting gloves'--a borrowing from golf, but on both hands--and many have 'running gloves' once they get on base which they hold in their hands while running the bases to keep them from stubbing or breaking their fingers if they have to slide. All these are accouterments over the last few decades to protect players from injury. For a sport that is 'non-contact', lots of people get hurt. "Playing through pain" is one of the most admired attributes of a baseball player, but most of them are millionaires these days and don't want to and don't want to get hurt and possibly endanger their next contract.

Jorge Posada is one of my favorite players because he is one of a few that doesn't wear batting gloves. Plus, he's a catcher, the most dangerous and physically draining of all positions. But he does wear a shin guard to protect his leg from fouled balls when batting.

Pain is part of the game. That is just one of the many ways that baseball is like life....

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Surrounded by life...

This morning I stopped at a store and when I came out, my car was surrounded by 20 or so Canada Geese! They are large creatures and a little frightening and murmured and dropped fecal matter (what they do best) as I made my way between them. When I started my engine they all took flight, finding a pattern in a matter of seconds, and flew away toward the near-by park. Amazing...

Then I came to St. John's and walked into the second day of the Music and Church School Camp who have taken over large expanses of a large, expansive building. They were in the chancel singing with Maria and Angela and her two right hand people--Courtney and Suzy--were in the library. There is a 40 foot long time line hanging in there, around the walls, tracing the time from 2000 BC (BCE for the politically/religiously correct) to the present day. The time line is clothes line rope and events are noted by clothes pins. Everyone's birthday--kids, staff, etc--are included, crowding up a part of the line. Mine is several inches behind those of the kids so I'm feeling a little old.

The 20 some kids are, like every gathering of kids at St. John's, a remarkable mix of Hispanic, African American, kids from the Caribbean, Asian and plain ol' white kids. You can't 'make up' the kind of stuff that happens at St. John's. While they were here a Narcotics Anonomous was on the third floor, the clericus (local priests) were in the Kellogg room and the soup kitchen was, as always, feeding between 250-300 people. It's like being surrounded by Canada Geese....How much life is that? Enough....

Sunday, August 9, 2009


I truly believe that baseball is the defining metaphor of life. It is as clear and true and reliable as anything you can imagine.

In the Major Leagues--which is my interest in baseball, not concerned about the minors or college ball or Little League--the pitching rubber is 66 or so feet from home plate. The bases are 90 feet apart, forming a perfect diamond. The straight line from home plate over first base and third base extends out into oblivion--or, at least until there is a wall and a 'fair pole' on either side. One variable is that no two fields have the same dimensions on the distance from home plate to the walls. But it is invariable that any ball hit over those walls, inside the 'fair poles' is a home run. (I use the term "fair poles" rather than 'foul poles'--which is what they are called--
because a ball that hits them is 'fair' not 'foul'....Go figure....)

There are many things I love about baseball--not the least of which is that, since it is almost always played outside (there are some stadiums with roofs and artificial grass--shame on them) and therefore heir to what the weather brings. The season lasts from April to October and, given that length of time, is dependant on what the weather brings. It should be possible to let the teams who play in the north--New York, Cleveland, Chicago, Boston, etc.--start the season in places where it seldom rains--Arizona, Texas, LA, etc.--or in domed stadiums (Minnesota, Toronto, Seattle, etc.). Yet the idiots who make up the schedules don't do that so you have games in Cleveland and Pittsburgh and Boston played in April in the rain or snow.... It always rains someplaces--Florida and Atlanta, for example...places that don't have roofs over the field. Good! Rain delays and rain outs are part of the deal about baseball....

One thing about baseball is that there is no time limit (I'll get to that in a while) though other major team sports--football, basketball, soccer, etc.--are 'timed'. There is a 'timelessness' two baseball. It happens when the 9th inning ends (or whichever inning after that ends) and one team is ahead. How glorious, baseball is not on 'the clock'! It is over when it is over. Just like life, I might observe.

I have much more to write about baseball as the Metaphor for life--but I have to eat dinner and watch a baseball game....I'll get back to you when the timelessness is ended....OK?

Blog Archive

About Me

some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.