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Monday, March 10, 2008

Baseball is life

As winter begins to wane in presence and the climates become warmer, it's pleasant to know that not one, but two seasons are upon us. Spring will usher in not only longer days and livelier trees, but also the subtle eloquence of the crack of a bat. Here comes baseball.

Today I saw this post about baseball on Crooked Timber. It provides a link to a 27-year-old letter about John Rawls explaining a few reasons why "baseball, is, in fact, the best of all games." However, what's fascinating is that baseball, although commonly referred to as America's Pastime, is disliked and even hated by many people. They say it's too slow paced, not exciting enough. These are the same people that, I would argue, find boredom in everyday life.

When I read this letter and the reasons that the sport is so wonderful, I could not help but think of them as metaphors for life. Baseball, Rawls says, "does not give unusual preference or advantage to special physical types," and that "[a]ll sorts of abilities can find a place somewhere, the tall and the short etc. can enjoy the game together in different positions." Baseball "calls upon speed, accuracy of throw, gifts of sight for batting," and "shrewdness for pitchers and catchers." And, he says, "there are all kinds of strategies." I will not insult your intelligence by explaining how these are (perhaps cliched) metaphors for life.

The letter has a way of explaining baseball that always seemed obvious to me but perhaps not enough to ever articulate it. So, if anyone ever tells you baseball sucks, cite John Rawls, and smugly remember that they hate life.

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