It is mid-season for baseball and the Tigers are doing well, though a couple of deficiencies (relief pitching!) could cause problems in getting to the post season. The Tigers’ bats seem to only want to open up at their home park as well. The Phils seem to have the opposite problem and only light up on the road. Somehow they keep fighting for the lead in their division. Where there’s life there’s hope. I have every hope of watching a Tigers game come October.
The game on the radio is the highlight of my day. It is a relief from troubles and replaces prosaic poverty with quotidian contentments. The noise of the crowd and the occasional smack of the ball are the warmest of sounds. Full of comfort and familiarity. For a long time I’ve wondered about the draw baseball seemingly has on Marxists (though not all Marxists to be sure) and raised it before on the blog.
Capitalism damages the game, no doubt. The Big Leagues are full of marketing intrigues and bottom line bullshit. It was not steroids that made all of those home runs a few years back; it was the owners making small parks to bank on the long ball. Players have been getting juiced before games since there were games. In all probability there hasn’t been a single baseball game since 1860 without at least one player being a little addled. Apparently one can even drop acid and play exquisitely. Yet capitalism can’t kill what is central to the game without destroying the game itself in the process. Which it may well end up doing. Then I really will move to Cuba.
Baseball is awash in the dialectic and relies on the combination of individuals into a collective. It eschews the awful showupmanship of so many other sports. It commands attention to detail and statistic, yet relies on the unquantifiable art of reading the field and performing the right play at the right time. I’ve often considered the game to be one of the last bulwarks of civilization in this country. Here’s George Carlin, ever looking at our uses of language, with his own explanations on why that might be.