Ransom Notes: Baseball not hitting home

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Everyone who knows me is aware that baseball is not my favorite sport. It’s not that I don’t think the players are talented or that I don’t recognize the skill required to hit a fastball or wait on a curve ball or track down a hot liner to third or even l

Everyone who knows me is aware that baseball is not my favorite sport. It’s not that I don’t think the players are talented or that I don’t recognize the skill required to hit a fastball or wait on a curve ball or track down a hot liner to third or even lay down a bunt. No, those are wonderful things.

I was even a baseball fan many years ago, back when Don Clendenon was roaming Forbes Field for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Roberto Clemente was the best player in the game, or when Dock Ellis wore his hair curlers to the park before he pitched. I saw Willie Mays and Hank Aaron and Willie Stargell, and I knew all of the players on my home team.

That was years ago, and I’m not in Pittsburgh anymore, and major league baseball hasn’t been in Pittsburgh in years and I soured on the sport.

But, I must admit, this love affair Chicagoans have with their baseball teams can get infectious.

No, I’m not following the box scores yet, and I haven’t had to choose between the North Siders and the South Siders. But the fervor that is so evident in this town is great to see, and it has been rewarded with two contenders.

I know, I know, there is the Cub curse, and we’re now entering the second century without a World Series win. But you’ve got to love a citizenry that can weather that kind of frustration, put up with that kind of futility, stomach that kind of failure and still pack the friendly confines each home game. If you could bottle that and apply it to… say… the economy, confidence in even AIG would soar and we’d be out of this recession in no time.

But with all that love, the things I dislike about baseball are still evident.

For one thing, I can’t pronounce the names of most of the players. It has been a long time since the Pittsburgh Pirates fielded the first all-Black nine in Major League Baseball. Actually, two or three of them were very dark Latinos, but the complexion was the connection. Now, it is not uncommon for major league teams to have no Blacks on the roster, and Black kids aren’t out working on their swings anymore. They are more likely to try out their athletic skills with football or basketball.

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