31 Jan 2009
There is a great story about Joe Dimaggio and the song "Mrs. Robinson". It seems when Joe first heard the lyric, "Where have you gone, Joe Dimaggio? Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you…" he didn’t like it because he thought it was making fun of him in someway. But that wasn’t Paul Simon’s intent, instead he was mourning the lack of heroes at a turbulent time in history (the 1960′s). I have been thinking of that story a lot recently as I have watched the news. Baseball has a remarkable ability to provide some joy in dark times and we could really use some joy right now.
I think of the great character Terrence Mann (played by the magnificent James Earl Jones) in "Field of Dreams" and his wonderful speech about the game.
"The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again."
This game is part of the literary fabric of our country, ir is part of our soul. We need it now, more than we have needed it in a long time. And in two short weeks, pitchers and cathers will report. Games start in less than four weeks and Opening Day is just over two months away.
I cannot begin to guess when the economy will get better and when this country will pull out of this funk, but I know having baseball back will help, if only a little.