Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Game of Baseball

I have always loved the game of baseball. I played, albeit not well, for most of my childhood. However, I never hit a home run. I think I had an inside the park home run that included at least one throwing error. Nonetheless, for those who enjoy the "great American pastime" there is nothing like a shot into the outfield seats.

The major league home run title has changed hands. Even most casual fans feel a bit unnerved by this given the controversies surrounding the game in recent years. Let's face it, there are many differences between today's game and the one played by Honas Wagner (pictured), Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth. Even Hank Aaron and Pete Rose played the game in a different era. Just about the only things that have remained the same are the dimensions of the diamond and the wooden bat. Players today are all finely tuned, and sometimes enhanced, athletes. The baseball itself has evolved so as to produce a more lively game. There are designated hitters, inter league play, sky boxes, multimillion dollar shoe contracts, gourmet concessions and outrageous salaries.

For someone to hit over 756 home runs, regardless of the era, we must acknowledge the enormity of this accomplishment. However, as fans we must also be honest about what draws us to the game. It is not the flash and popularity of celebrity athletes. It is the simplicity and joy that happens at the ball park. After all, it is a simple game. We must not forget, it is a game.

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