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Baseball as a form of religion
on 5 May 2015
When watching this video, there were times when I had tears in my eyes. It was wonderful to see the archive footage of some of the great names in baseball. Seeing and hearing Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Jackie Robinson and others cannot help but stir the passion of anyone with even a passing interest in the game.
Some others who have reviewed this tape have criticized it for being centered on New York teams and for neglecting some of the teams who came from nowhere to win titles. This criticism is true, but unfounded. There were two things that dramatically changed the game and both took place in New York. The first was when Babe Ruth began hitting home runs at a pace previously unthinkable. I consider his numbers in the early years as a Yankee outfielder to be the most amazing statistics in all of sports. It is incredible that he hit more home runs than many others teams did in those seasons. Some talk negatively about the adulation given to sports stars these days, and yet none approaches the level of stardom achieved by Ruth.
The second was when Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers. We celebrate Martin Luther King Day as a tribute to his struggle for civil rights. However, it can be strongly argued, and correctly in my opinion, that Jackie Robinson did more for the struggle than Dr. King did. The pressure on Robinson was enormous, at times having thousands of people screaming abuse at him. And yet he succeeded on the field, still considered by many to be the most exciting player of his generation. It is also hard to underestimate the effect this had on the American society. Many people who otherwise would have nothing to do with a black man cheered him on the field, and found at least some of their attitudes changed.
The lament of the Boston Red Sox is also a major part of the video. No one could possibly forget the Carlton Fisk home run or that slow ground ball moving through Bill Buckner's legs. I saw both live and each kept me up for hours after the event. One statement made several times in the tape that may seem frivolous is how the grass just seems greener in baseball stadiums. My personal experience backs that. The greenest, most beautiful grass I have ever seen was in Wrigley Field.
Baseball is a great game, the only major one where many of the players just don't look like athletes. Babe Ruth looked more like a bartender than an athlete as did some pitchers of the sixties and seventies. And yet they have some of the most incredible skills, as I can attest after trying to hit a ninety mile-per-hour fastball. I lived baseball in my youth, but lately the pressures of a career have led me astray. This tape brought me back to my younger days when I knew all the great players as well as their lifetime statistics. It made me something that I have rarely if ever been, nostalgic for my youth.