A few thoughts on the end of the 2022 Major League Baseball season, starting with some of the truest words ever written on the subject:
Baseball is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall all alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops.
– A. Bartlett Giamatti – Commission of Baseball, 1986-1989
…and I’ll add a few thoughts now that the 2022 season is over, and since baseball played such a big part in my summer…
I watched a lot of the World Series, but it was really kinda boring. Thankfully I had lots of other things to multitask with – photo editing for the book – because the games themselves were mostly… well, long periods of strike outs punctuated by occasional home runs. I got a lot of work done.
But jeezus the games still go on forever and I must have lobotomized the part of my brain that saw the same commercials two (or was it three… or five…) hundred times. Mercifully, I don’t remember any of them.
I don’t care much for the new playoff format. I’ve never been a fan of the whole ‘wild card’ business that lets a team that hasn’t ‘won’ anything a chance to appear in ‘The Fall Classic.’ This year, the format allowed a team that had finished the regular season in third place in their division to reach what Bob Costas has more correctly labeled “the MLB finals.”
Fortunately, a team that won their division prevailed in the ‘finals.’ Unfortunately, that team was the Houston Astros. But I’m happy for Dusty Baker, he finally won a World Series as a manager (only the second Black manager to do so). I remember Dusty Baker playing for the Dodgers when I lived in Los Angeles – and that was a millennium ago.
When the first rounds of major league expansion in the 1960s dictated a playoff for the pennant, you still had meaningful divisions – east and west – and the winners played five (later seven) games before the Series and it was all still over by the middle of October.
As Keith Olbermann has opined a few times on his podcast, if a third place team can make it to the World Series, then what is the ‘regular season’ even for??
In the good old days, your team either won the pennant and went on to the World Series – which was played on sunny warm days in early October – or went home for the winter. Now it’s frozen night games (or, worse – indoors!?!?) in November.
November? You do. not. play. baseball. in. November. That’s football season.
George Carlin put it best:
Baseball begins in the spring, the season of new life.
Football begins in the fall, when everything is dying.
George Carlin, “Football -v- Baseball”
I’ve written elsewhere about my 4th-grade fascination with Roy Campanella. When I was poking around to find an image to illustrate ‘It Breaks Your Heart’ I found this photo of Roy:
…at what was left of Ebbets Field in Brooklyn as it was being torn down after the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles.
Pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training on February 14.