Monday, October 8, 2012

Rant #818: Our National Pastime

I just love baseball.

There is nothing better than the six months of drama that unfolds every year when the baseball season begins in April and ends in October.

Yesterday, the baseball playoffs heated up, and the New York Yankees were among the winning teams in yesterday's games, pulling out a nail biter that turned into a route via a five-run ninth inning, leading to a 7-2 win.

Today, they face the tough Baltimore Orioles again, and hopefully, the game won't be delayed by more than two hours by rain as last night's game was.

It's just one win on the road to the World Series, but it was great getting off on the right foot in game one.

Anyway, 56 years ago today, the Yankees won another game, but this game was something different entirely.

Don Larsen, basically a journeyman pitcher during his career, cemented himself in the annals of baseball history, pitching a perfect game against the crosstown rival Brooklyn Dodgers.

No one has matched this game, either before or since.

Larsen would have been, pretty much, a forgotten pitcher if not for this feat. and he normally shows up at Yankees oldtimer games, and gets a warm round of applause for his achievement during that game, a contest during which, at least for a game, he was the greatest pitcher on earth.

Larsen made the news recently, as he decided to sell some personal memorabilia from that game in order to finance his grandchildren's education.

Good for him. He has been a class act since that wonderful day.

Also yesterday, the Atlantic League's Long Island Ducks won their league championship in a game that was decided in the ninth inning.

It's the second time the Ducks have won a championship, and although it's independent league, minor league baseball, there is something to say about the popularity of baseball, even when the weather begins to get colder.

The Ducks are the centerpiece of this league, the league's most successful franchise.

They have a beautiful ballpark, they have fans nearly as boisterous as the Yankees do, and their league started from nothing and has become a resource for major league baseball teams to find players who fall through the cracks.

How about Lew Ford, who was in the starting lineup for the Orioles last night? He is an alum of the league and the Ducks.

This is the league that allowed Roger Clemens the chance to pitch this year, and a league which will soon announce a division devoted entirely to the state of Texas.

Yes, the Atlantic League will field several teams from that state.

Go figure.

But as Yankees radio voice John Sterling has said many, many times over the years, "You just can't figure baseball."

And you can't.

Even though some would deny it, it remains our national pastime, a game that is so easy to understand that pre-schoolers get it, yet so complex that it takes cybermetrics to understand it.

And I love it, I really do.

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