BASEBALL VS FOOTBALL

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BASEBALL VS FOOTBALL

GAVEL GAMUT By Jim Redwine

“If a woman’s just a woman but a good cigar’s a smoke” (Rudyard Kipling), football’s just a game but baseball’s who we are. Or, as my friend and favorite songwriter, Randy Pease, sang about baseball (and life), “Maybe I should quit but that’s a hard thing to admit, God, I love this game.” Randy honed his musical skills when he took a break from his studies at Oklahoma State University where I also found pursuits other than the prescribed curricula. Another Cowboy that Randy occasionally played guitars and sang within Stillwater, Oklahoma was a songwriter named Garth Brooks who also loved baseball. I wonder if he ever made the big leagues? For as Garth, Randy, and the rest of us frustrated would-be major leaguers eventually accept, and as the protagonist in Randy’s song knows, “our playing days are numbered and our fastball’s lost some speed” but we aren’t quite ready to “hang up the cleats and mitt.” On the other hand, most of us, not Tom Brady of course, have no angst about leaving the sweaty football pads hanging in the dank locker room while we are still a ways from our porch swings.

Baseball is not just America’s Past Time it is America. It is a grimy catcher’s mask and miraculous or stumbling catches in left-center field. It is come from behind in the bottom of the ninth and lessons learned from games that should have been won. It is sweat and spit and grief and grit and all that makes us glad to endure heat and aches. Boys and girls and men and women of all ages can and do play baseball and softball; not so much football once high school fades.

Baseball affords fathers and mothers a parent’s greatest satisfaction, being asked by their adult children for advice. No kid over fourteen seeks football insights from their folks but even aging children who may question a parent’s sanity on matters of politics, music, or religion still occasionally rely on mom and dad on how to hit a softball or play old folk’s league shortstop. As a parent slowly rocks and questions decisions she or he once made, when their grown offspring return to ask the best way to use a pinch hitter the cobwebs seem less opaque. On the other hand, no post-teenager cares what a parent thinks about a statue-of-liberty or a flea-flicker trick football play.

So, we can continue to pretend we understand football’s pass defense coverage two and can continue to yearn for our adult children to ask us to explain it and other football errata or we can thank baseball for keeping us in the real game. But I’ll let Randy finish the column because he is a fine writer of both prose and song lyrics:

“Although the song is on the surface about baseball, it’s really about life and how we should love our lives even when it beats the crap out of us nearly every day. In baseball, even the best hitters get on base only three times out of ten. Such is life. It’s full of disappointments and heartbreaks. But there’s always that hope the next at-bat you’ll knock the ball out of the park. And baseball is a sign of spring – new grass, new life, renewal, redemption. It represents the hope that comes with a new season. And it poses a tough question: Can I still play or is it time to hang up the cleats and mitt?”

Lyrics to “I Love This Game”

♫ My name is Eddie Roberts, and I’m a starting pitcher

For the Winston-Salem Warthogs in the Carolina League.

I’m thirty-four years old.  My playing days are numbered.

I can’t control my curveball, and my fastball’s lost some speed.

I’ve been knockin’ ‘round the minors since I got out of high school,

signed my first pro contract on my seventeenth birthday.

From Burlington to Birmingham to Charlotte I have traveled,

But the White Sox never called, and I stalled in Triple-A.

Chorus

I love this game.  I love this game.

Maybe I should quit, but that’s a hard thing to admit.

God, I love this game.

I won fourteen games one year, led the league in shutouts.

Several of the pro scouts told me I was on my way.

But I hurt my arm in Lynchburg.  Doc said it was a pinched nerve.

And I swear that ever since, sir, it’s never been the same.

Chorus

I love this game, I love this game.

Maybe I should quit, but that’s a hard thing to admit.

God, I love this game

Coda

Maybe I should quit.  Hang up the cleats and mitt.

God, I love this game.

My name is Eddie Roberts, and I’m a starting pitcher

For the Winston-Salem Warthogs in the Carolina League. ♫

© I Love This Game

Randy Pease Decaf Music 1998 (BMI)

For more Gavel Gamut articles go to www.jamesmredwine.com

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1 COMMENT

  1. Jim is right!

    It’s Morning in America !

    Restaurants and Ballgames, opening!
    Economic growth.
    Low unemployment.
    COVID is being defeated.

    Wow. What a difference it makes to get rid of Donald Trump.
    Trump is a loser, an idiot, and universally acknowledged as the US’ worst President.

    Know what Trump did?
    He MOVED TO FLORIDA!!!!!

    How about our ole white nationalist, pretend to be a Republican, JOSEPROUDBOY?
    Did JoseBiden live in Indiana, our beautiful, prosperous, State?
    NO!

    Loser, JoseProudBoy MOVED TO FLORIDA too!!!!!
    WesCider?
    Norm?
    Did you guys MOVE TO FLORIDA too?????”

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