There is no experience more intense than a baseball field in crisis.

And none more so than Game Five in a tied World Series – which is exactly what baseball hurled at us in last Sunday’s five hour and 17 minute contest.

(The word, agony, comes from the Greek word, agon, meaning contest.)

Watching Game Five was utter agony. That’s baseball! A football play lasts around five seconds. Mano-a-mano between pitcher and hitter may go on five minutes. Unendurable tension. Folks often leave when watching alone on television. Overwhelmed by anxiety. Need 50,000 fanatics screaming and waving towels. Need group support!

I had thought the only perfect invention of man was the 90 feet from home plate to first base. After seeing replays at second, third and home plate, safe or out often a matter of two inches, the entire 360 feet of the base paths are as close to perfection as the flawed human race will ever manage.

Major league ball players are a wonder, a combination of Herculean
powers and The Red Shoes. Yet, despite these immense gifts, no mere mortal has to listen more carefully to the voice of reason, which counsels persistence. Baseball is a game of failure! Of the seven billion folks on the planet, not more than ten can hit the major league curve ball. A hitter has 1.2 seconds to make a judgment on a pitch coming at him 100 miles an hour. All players fail at least two out of three times at bat.

Tonight is do-or-die for the Dodgers. The first inning is the key. If Hill can get by Springer, Bregman and Altuve, we East Coast/West Coast Dodgers fans will live happily ever after.

Remember – last week the temperature was 103 degrees, favoring hitters. Tonight it’s in the 60s, favoring pitchers. That’s us.

Remember – The Baseball Gods are very jealous of their reputation. Like most gods, a sensitive bunch. Verlander has not experienced failure. The gods have been keeping score. Their product celebrates failure!


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