Ian, Elvis, Josh, Michael, Adrian, Nelson, Na-po-li, David and Mitch/Yorvit/Endy: Thanks, guys. I would mention the pitchers but they are still in St. Louis, probably, looking for the strike zone.
Ok, there is some upset about how it ended.
But, guys, I sat in the upper tier at a Ranger World Series game this year with my sons, on a wispy cloud kind of night at the World Series. The World Series. You won that night, behind the Microscopic Moustache, and Nap's three run shot. I need him to do it again next year because two of the boys were in tbe bathroom when he hit this one, so, please, work hard and get back for a third year. You can do it.
We had one of our seat neighbors take a picture of us at the game. When my funeral rolls around, it will be one of the pictures they put up on the video screen, me, all my sons and a perfect autumn night in Arlington, with the Field of Dreams behind us. We could not have taken that picture if you had not battled through broken bones, pulled hamstrings, strained quads, pinched obliques, bad calls and plain bad luck.
You guys have become a fixture in our family. We went to spring training with you in February, lived through your slow start and your sudden spurt. We watched Josh wreck his shoulder on a ball hit in the infield. I still don't understand that one.
We know MLB is no longer in its Golden Era but it is still gold. You are highly paid, but, on the other hand, you play every day for six months. You get in from the coast at 5am after a ten day road trip and play that night at 7pm in 105 degree heat. You play every day.
By the time you get done with your season you have become old friends to us. We know Josh and Ian welcomed in new babies this season. We know Nelson's dad had a health thing. We know Napoli loves the Miami Heat. We all know how that one turned out for him.
There is no "Spahn and Sain and pray for rain," these days, but there are you guys with your weird hand signals when you get a hit. You have fun. You make this game fun for fans, even on the professional level, with your antics.
We grew up knowing Tinkers to Evers to Chance, the way English school children know the succesive fates of the six wives of Henry VIII: divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived. When you compare their cultural metaphor to ours, we are baseball, they are the monarchy. No wonder they are no longer Great Britain.
Even in its Golden Era, The American Game had its hypocrisy. Babe Ruth missed games because of "stomach-aches," usually caused by his all night benders. Ty Cobb was a total racist, so bad even the other players hated him. Gaylord Perry cheated, told everyone he cheated, but somehow made it cute and cuddly to cheat.
When Sammy Sosa got caught with his corked bat, or Bonds/Palmeiro/A-Rod, et al their steroids, it was not cute anymore. Pete Rose hit everything they threw at him but he won't be in Cooperstown anytime soon, either.
They messed with The Game. They ran up big records but still stand outside the Hall of Fame looking in at the other guys because they messed with your game and with our game.
For all its hypocrisy, when baseball was the biggest thing in America, it broke the color barrier. No matter that pro football already had black players, football did not count then. Branch Rickey brought the world Jackie Robinson. He took the biggest chance in the history of American Business. Baseball became the American Game for all Americans and Dominicans and Puerto Ricans and Japanese. Even Chan Ho Park got a place in the American Game.
You guys plays every day. You drop the second game of a rain-out doubleheader at midnight and hit the field again for BP at four the next afternoon. The temperature is still 105 degrees. You have a place.
Football will lose its place again because it only comes around a few times a year and it is so violent even they who love it know it has to change. When they take all the murder out of the game it will cease to be football and it will start to die.
Baseball will be with us always. You guys play every day and we have yet to tire of you. Have a good off-season. Don't forget how it felt Friday night. Remember and maybe it won't happen again.
See you in the spring.
Opinions expressed here are mine alone.