"The hard is what makes it great."
This audio clip is one of my favorite lines about baseball, and one of my favorite lessons about life. I always think of myself as someone who came into my love of baseball at a later age, when I moved to Boston and became a Red Sox fan. But really, I can think of so many moments where I fell in love with baseball.
I would sit with Lissa as she explained the rules while we watched Mariners games in college. When we were kids, I always loved going to the AAA games in Portland and exploring the park. And whenever we were at Grandma’s house, she had a game on in the background. She loves baseball and, well, I just always wanted to be as much like her as I could be. I’m on my way, I guess.
There is something so glorious about a day at the ballpark, (and about movies that capture that feeling), and something so very American. I love it through and through.
Anyway, if you’re at all into baseball, you’ll probably enjoy the NPR Fresh Air coverage of the origins of the game in an interview with baseball’s official historian, John Thorne. My favorite bit:
"In no field of American endeavor is invention more rampant than in baseball, whose whole history is a lie from beginning to end, from its creation myth to its rosy models of commerce, community, and fair play. The game’s epic feats and revered figures, its pieties about racial harmony and bleacher democracy, its artful blurring of sport and business — all of it is bunk, tossed up with a wink and a nudge. Yet we love both the game and the flimflam because they are both so … American. Baseball has been blessed in equal measure by Lincoln and by Barnum.”
P.S. All you Yankee fans, apparently baseball started in Massachusetts and had different rules than the New York game. Thorne calls the Massachusetts version “the game that got away” and says:
"The New York game I think, in many measures, is inferior. It claimed for itself, manliness and gentlemanly conduct, but manliness was really a characteristic of the Massachusetts game. That’s where bravery was on display."