Say It Ain't So, Joe!

With Major League Baseball spring training opening, here are some reflections, from a friend, on the game:
    The story goes that the boy’s glistening eyes anxiously locked on the door, fearing the worst.
    The man walked out of the hearing room, quickly left the building, and squinted in the sunlight. As he passed, he didn’t notice the kid.
    But he heard the sniffled whisper, “Say it ain’t so, Joe”.
    Shoeless Joe Jackson quickened his pace as he walked away, eyes tearing.
    Dream sullied.
    Shadows cast across the ball field — and over the game itself.
    Despite the joyful explosion of the Miracle of the Babe and the quiet thunder of Lou on first, there remained a hurting yearn for quite a while; long after we put down the day’s sports page.
    But then there was that exciting flash, as the Four Horsemen roared across the country;
    America sang, “We never stagger, we never fall …”
    We heard the shot heard ‘round the world! Polo Grounds madness! But they packed up.
    Who cared?

What's a Hero?

Was Hank the last honest hero who was a record-breaker?
    There was no Golden Gate lab with him; no “trainer” looking for 15 minutes; no 5th taken – maybe swallowed before the hearing. No betting on the team’s … HOW MANY!!!!!?
    The apologists say Mark, Sammy and Barry were just trying to get an edge. Oh.
    An edge is the quarterback’s quick count; Cobb filing his spikes in the dugout before the game.
    Playing second, Stanky’s flailing arms right before the pitch was a genuine edge. His distractions to the batter were finally banned.... “A” for creativity... The Lip protested; got banned himself, later.

Real Character...

Heroes — real heroes — have one thing in common: Character.
    It’s self-evident. You know it when you see it. Enormous depth, right to the bone, brother.
    Unfortunately, getting harder and harder to find. Think back to Johnny U. and Roberto.
    Their creed? Simple: do the best you can – every time. Honestly!
    Broadway Joe touched it — briefly. A few others had fleeting moments – nothing constant.
    Why so precious few? There’s Hank, Lou, Derek, Roberto, and … who?
    Something’s missing, America.
    Hey, Rocket…ROCKET!!!! Where ya going?
    Say it ain’t so, Joe.

Written by Rocky Bleier


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