For the Love of the Game

In this issue we celebrate baseball, a staple of Chesapeake summers and a joy in many of our lives.

As you will read, baseball in Chesapeake Country is about far more than the Baltimore Orioles. It's about Baysoxers and Chesapeake Leaguers and people who take to the diamonds on sun-bleached afternoons and lazy evenings. It's about people who get more than money from America's sport and then give something back to each other and to the fans.

We don't blame you if you've already given up on the Orioles, as desultory a bunch as any who put on cleats. They take their millions from the fans. But, with few exceptions, they take no visible joy for themselves and they give little back to us. They are, in the words of one of our friends, windstrikers and never-sweats.

Of course, baseball is great because you get to call people names. It is a place to channel your tenacious beliefs, whether or not they're politically correct. There are more levels of pleasures, too. You get intrigue of the pennant race, watching and wondering if the playoffs and maybe even the World Series are just ahead for your squad. On that one, the Orioles let us down.

Even if your team is a flop in the standings, you get the joy of watching players hustle and perform as close to their capabilities as is humanly possible. The Orioles let us down on that one, too, giving us late-inning horror shows that make tuning in a hazard to your psyche.

Lastly, even if your team won't be playing in October, you get to like them as individuals. On that score, the Orioles have too many scowling, silent types who seem to forget that baseball writers are the emissaries of the fans.

So forget about the O's and wallet-draining Camden Yards and read about baseball as it's meant to be played. Remember there's joy to be had in baseball in cozy confines where they play for the love and the sport and not just for money.

Remember the rhythm and the ritual of baseball and all that was sweet before statistics stole the game. (Does it irritate you, too, when an Orioles announcer says monotonously: "That was so-and-so's 12th double of the year and the Orioles 86th, which ranks them eighth in the American league." Who cares? We'd rather hear about how the batsman grunted when he crunched the pill that screamed a foot over the poky left-fielder and made the pitcher spit on the mound and say "Shucks." Or something like that.)

So settle in with your New Bay Times and enjoy the game. Baseball gloves are optional.

| Issue 28 |

Volume VII Number 28
July 15-21, 1999
New Bay Times

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