Football has replaced baseball as America’s favorite pastime. Fewer people call themselves a fan of the sport and even fewer seem to tune in for the fall classic. Not me, though. As I grow older, the more I come to appreciate baseball’s history. This book serves as an introduction to a sport in which I have only begun to scratch the surface. My hope is with each book I will develop a deeper understanding and love for a sport that I deeply admire for its pace, pressure, and deep-seated hold on the American psyche.
The Cleveland Indians
I have been a fan of the Cleveland Indians since I was a little kid. Over the course of my life, I have watched them lose three World Series; two of them in extra innings during the seventh game of the World Series. I have watched their dreaded title streak continue and become the longest in Major League Baseball. As I read this book, I could not help but think of the suffering I have endured thanks to a group of men who I have no control over. I also could not help but think of the hundreds of reasons I keep returning season after season to cheer on my beloved Indians.
“History is written by the winners.” In this book, we are treated to a rare tale and offered a glimpse into the life of a pitcher who let one get away from him and ended up costing his team the pennant. Through stories about Ralph Branca, we see the five stages of grief. We see a man who could have been great. We see a man come to terms with the fact the Giants cheated and how that impacts his legacy. Taken together, being able to see life through the eyes of the loser was refreshing and welcomed.
The Pain of Sports
Nothing hurts like sports. From the comfort of our living room or the stands of a stadium, our fandom turns us into monsters. We speak of “us and we” when referring to a team in which we have no say or ability to influence the outcome. We rant. We scream. We cry. And some of us destroy. More often than not, we find ourselves on the losing side and then we make a silent agreement to ourselves to do it all again. We put ourselves through hell on the slim chance that celebration and ecstasy will be ours one day.
Be good to each other,