Baseball On My Brain

Thoughts on the weekend, and why not – Monday as well
January 12, 2009, 4:15 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

First off, congrats to Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice on getting in to the Hall of Fame. That is major – and I commend them both.

Interesting to see the numbers on the other guys – Mark McGwire’s vote count went down from last year, which I was a bit surprised about. I’ve been intrigued by the voting process when it comes to McGwire, because there would seem to be the debate about how to vote for him if you sat in the undecided camp. While you don’t want to risk him getting in until the substance use is cleared up, you also don’t want to see him drop off the ballot if he gets less than 5% of the vote. So how do you vote? Or is there a e-mail that goes around amongst the undecided and picks who votes yes and who votes no?

Speaking of potential Hall of Famers…Roger Clemens is under the microscope again, which is just a good reminder – don’t lie under oath to Congress. Sometimes you have to take things like this as a lesson…don’t do drugs, don’t make it look like you’re doing drugs, and when people ask you if you’re doing drugs, don’t lie about it.

So to look back over the weekend, it started with some sad news on Friday afternoon when it was announced that the Seattle Post-Intelligencer is on the clock to be sold, and as most analysts concur, unlikely to find a buyer and thus either taken online as a stripped down version or shut down completely.

P-I sports columnist Art Thiel has a nice reflection on the developments in this morning’s paper – worth a read.

As I think about it, the more I feel like an old-timer in a 30-year-old’s body. I get four newspapers a day, which I always read cover-to-cover, and I still listen to the occasional LP. In fact – I couldn’t tell you the last time I played a CD…I either listen to online radio, traditional radio, or pop on a record.

The newspaper world has changed so dramatically – I’m not going to lay any blame here, things change and new products and opportunities emerge. But from someone who grew up the son of a newspaper editor, and always had both Seattle papers in the driveway every single day, to know that in the near future one of those papers won’t even exist is a scary thought. There is something special about the tactile sensation of reading a newspaper, that unfortunately I fear is going away. I wish I knew what I could do to save it.

On Saturday, I had the pleasure of attending an event here in Seattle put on by the guys that run the USS Mariner and Lookout Landing blogs that featured four members of the Mariners’ front office and I’ve heard over 200 audience members.

While I’ve been sworn to secrecy as to the exact topics that were discussed, you can read a recap of the event here.

Some thoughts did cross my mind at the event though…

-First and foremost, good thing I didn’t come here looking for a date.

-But the more important one that stuck with me pertains to the World Series, and the desire to “have a World Series winner.”

I’ve been reading and enamored with Eckhart Tolle’s work lately, particularly The Power of Now. He reminds us that material things are always fleeting in our enjoyment of them because material things are rooted in time. I thought about that as it pertains to World Series championships – no matter how many a team has, they always want more. We all talk about wanting to win a World Series, but does it really fill a void in an individual’s life?

Maybe I am realizing that I’m just not a competitive person…the desire to go out and fight for the win just isn’t in me. While I would never say that competition is inherently bad, I think it provides a point upon which to analyze things. Think about the Yankees – they have 27 World Series titles, more than any other team. What do they want this year? Another one. And when they get that one, will they want another? Of course.

When all you want is more of something, it seems to prove that there is no real value to one, or any quantity. How many World Series rings would you want to have before you’d say you we re truly happy? Just one? Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all, as the old saying goes? Better to have one hit and be called a one-hit wonder than to never have a hit and never be called?

It was one of those thoughts that came to me as I thought about the shared desire of probably everyone in that room – to see a winning baseball team. Yet is ultimately something that none of us control – even though some have more a role in the process than others. Yet we visit blogs, we write posts, we buy tickets, schedule our days around watching a baseball game, and so on – all with the hope of seeing a winner. And what does that winner provide for us – not just at the surface level of a fleeting moment of pleasure – but at the deeper level of true happiness?

That is a question that I have yet to find the answer to.

The baseball community has come up with more and more ways to try and craft a winner – advanced stats, scouting, video, data analysis and so forth, and the task is still just as hard as it was 100 years ago. There is no magic combination to putting together a World Series winner – simply because there is the variable called real life to contend with between game 1 and game 162. Sure – some teams may be better constructed than others, but even still, something happens that takes the favored team out of contention and creates a spot for someone else.

And as the saying goes – isn’t it the journey that’s supposed to be more enjoyable than the destination?


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