Finally, a beautiful day …

April 3, 2016

There was a freak ice-snow storm with 35+ mph winds yesterday that lasted for about an hour, and then disappeared … the snow was all melted in under two hours.

In the grand scheme of life, winters and summers and autumns and springs.  I have been contemplating that a bit lately.  If you knew you could only see a loved one (I am pulling a somewhat random number here) 60 or 70 times in your life, you would learn to cherish those meetings.  Here, spring is arriving, and if you are lucky, you will see maybe 60-70 of them.  I am trying to carve out a little time to appreciate nature a bit more.

That aside, I received what I hope will turn out to be a remarkable gift today.  My aunt turned over to me a couple of dozen cassette tapes which include recordings of my grandfather and other family members that were made in the 1970s.  I am going to try and find an audio professional who can convert these to digital, assuming they can be saved.  Some of these tapes seem to be just people talking, at least ten for some reason were of the Ford-Carter presidential debates (???)  Most of the rest … I hope … are of my grandfather doing his best to call Chicago White Sox baseball games be recording his voice while he watched games on TV.  Some of the tapes are dated, and so I am hoping to call up the play-by-plays online, and see how accurate he was.

It is coincidence that, today, a man in Pittsburgh picked up a ball and threw it at another man in anger … and that for a moment the chaos of the cosmos was restored to order.

Wes Westrum was a former player, scout, coach, and manager (he was the last man to succeed Casey Stengel, becoming the second manager in Mets history).  He understood the game like few have:

Baseball is like church:  many attend, but few understand.

Not many see that baseball, in its intricacies both qualitative and quantitative are difficult to unravel (perhaps not quite as difficult as theology … if that were true, people could run for president by loudly proclaiming false belief in sabremetrics, and demanding that the Congress block the next election of the Hall of Fame until Tim Raines gets in).  But in a game where stadia are termed “Green Cathedrals”, and sabremetricians fool themselves into thinking that they and they alone have discovered the one true path of orthodoxy, and there is a sense of pure good (Jackie and Roberto) and pure evil (the Yankees), it is sometimes easy to see how theology and baseball weave into each other’s lanes.  This might be a bigger problem, but no one is calling for a separation of Church and Baseball, and the man who has written the best essay ever on the subject on the nature of faith and science, Stepehen Jay Gould, was a man who understood the strange beauty of the game (he was a reformed Brooklyn Dodgers fan, but that is to be forgiven). Gould knew that even though orthodoxy should say that the game should be able to be boiled down to numbers that describe the player, he knew better …. he knew that there were metrics beyond numbers (some people would consider it odd that a scientist would suddenly turn their back on numbers … but Gould knew enough to see their limitations … that in something that was far more artistic than science, there are metrics beyond numbers.

Carl Yastrzemski, one of the beloved heroes of Boston (he spent his whole 23 year career in Boston, was an 18-time All-Star, won the Triple Crown in 1967, won 7 Gold Gloves, and compiled over 3400 hits and 450 home runs.  He had his own thoughts on the game:

I think about baseball when I wake up in the morning.  I think about it all day and I dream about it at night.  The only time I don’t think about it is when I’m playing.

I guess this is another big difference between baseball and faith.  I think that quite a few people tend not to think about faith unless they are sitting in church.

Today, baseball returns, and that is wholly good.  The White Sox for only the second time ever open in Oakland tomorrow, so the opening game doesn’t get started until 9 pm Central Time.