Baseball and the Cure of Souls

By |2019-04-03T22:51:54-05:00April 3rd, 2019|

Baseball has an essence that mirrors the heavenly city and the precision of creation better than other sports. Its calmer nature also embodies that sense of tranquility which the restless heart seeks. The baseball season has arrived. America’s pastime sport returns, like Persephone from her bondage in Hades, to signal the return to life [...]

The Ballpark: A Paradise Into Which Evil Comes

By |2019-03-28T14:22:11-05:00March 28th, 2019|

The ballpark is a paradise into which evil does occasionally come, whenever the Yankees are in town, and this occasionally lends the game a cosmic significance that it would not be improper to call “apocalyptic.” This, in fact, is why that dastardly franchise is a spiritually necessary part of the game in this country; even [...]

On Baseball

By |2019-03-27T22:20:45-05:00March 27th, 2019|

Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball, the rules and realities of the game. That baseball fitly expresses the powers of the nation's mind and body is a merit separate from the glory of being the most active, agile, varied, articulate, and brainy of all group games. People [...]

Forgotten Virtue: The Baseball Hero Nobody Knows

By |2019-03-20T14:11:34-05:00March 20th, 2019|

Gil Meche His career stats indicate that he was a mediocre baseball pitcher—perhaps the epitome of mediocrity: 84 wins; 83 losses; a 4.49 Earned Run Average; a Walks-plus-Hits-to-Innings-Pitched ratio of 1.42. Yet Gil Meche, who played for the Seattle Mariners and Kansas City Royals, was responsible for one of the most astounding, yet almost unnoticed, [...]

Who Was the Real Ty Cobb?

By |2018-10-24T12:40:38-05:00October 23rd, 2018|

People have been told that Ty Cobb was a bad man over and over, all their lives. The repetition has felt like evidence... Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty, by Charles Leerhsen (464 pages, Simon & Schuster, 2015) Baseball fans familiar with major league records remember Ty Cobb for his .366 lifetime batting average during the dead-ball era. Some [...]

“The Brothers Karamazov” and the Power of Memory

By |2018-08-03T23:43:22-05:00August 3rd, 2018|

Strong memories—of good times, of challenges met, of shaping experiences commonly shared—are the critical foundation of a good and meaningful life, particularly if you are young. Cherished memories of days passed can spur us on, can exhort us, and can motivate us when our own days seem dark and unendurable... On my desk sits a [...]

Gambling and the American Mind

By |2018-06-27T15:53:53-05:00June 27th, 2018|

More and more Americans, all of them convinced that their side is losing, try to rig the game in their favor. No longer willing to play fair, they want only to win… Born on October 4, 1809 and orphaned at the age of twelve, Robert Cumming Schenck overcame his early difficulties to earn a [...]

My Guiding Philosophy

By |2018-05-08T12:29:13-05:00May 8th, 2018|

"My guiding philosophy was that playing every day for your team was the most honorable thing you could do. They were counting on you. You had a challenge that day, and you came to the ballpark to meet that challenge. You played. That was the highest level you could achieve." —quoted in The Streak: Lou [...]

Was Ty Cobb Really a Nice Guy After All?

By |2018-05-05T10:53:00-05:00May 4th, 2018|

"You wouldn't believe how many guys wanted to play here. We had to beat 'em off with a stick. Ty Cobb wanted to play. But none of us could stand the son of a b---- when we were alive, so we told him to stick it!" —Shoeless Joe Jackson, in the film Field of Dreams Ty [...]

The Republic of Baseball

By |2018-03-10T10:38:06-05:00March 10th, 2018|

A key difference between baseball and democracy is that in baseball the winners don’t get to rewrite the rules. And it never occurs to the losers to blame the rules for their losses. Our deepest norms of order can still be seen in operation on the diamond when they’ve been adulterated everywhere else. Baseball is [...]

“Baseball Is Our Game”

By |2017-06-28T12:07:08-05:00June 28th, 2017|

"I like your interest in sports ball, chiefest of all base-ball particularly: base-ball is our game: the American game: I connect it with our national character. Sports take people out of doors, get them filled with oxygen generate some of the brutal customs (so-called brutal customs) which, after all, tend to habituate people to a [...]

Why Hating the New York Yankees Is Good for the Soul

By |2018-09-29T22:25:08-05:00May 25th, 2017|

The Yankee franchise represents the worst side of modern baseball and is thus the fittest of villains in the cosmic drama embodied by the game... "They are the 'Dark Side.' They represent all that is evil about baseball, and about our society in general." —Bill Lee, former major league pitcher It was the late winter of 2002, [...]