And why baseball is the greatest game.
During 2018 World Series Game 4, I wrote about some of my baseball memories (on Facebook):
“My dad’s dad wasn’t much of a father. My dad grew up in Boston but never went to Fenway with his dad. So my dad decided to make up for it by taking me to Red Sox games. My first game was in 1976 (I was 10), and my dad took me to Red Sox games pretty much every year from 1976 to 1984. My dad used to park in the Back Bay in Boston (free parking!) and then we would walk to Fenway Park. We were walking to Fenway, and I saw a a squirrel running underneath a bridge. And I said to my dad, ‘Look Dad, a squirrel!’ And he replied, ‘That’s not a squirrel, son, that’s a rat!’ Relatedly, on another one of those walks, I saw some boys throwing a sofa out of a window onto the sidewalk. And I asked my dad, ‘What’s that, Dad?’ And he replied, without missing a beat, ‘That’s a fraternity, son!’ I lived in a dorm in college.”
I ended up using that “fraternity” quote myself later in life.
And so, now that the Red Sox are World Series champs again, I’m blogging about it again. As it turns out, I’ve been writing about Red Sox baseball longer than I’ve been blogging about it (see 1999 letter to the editor of The Boston Globe, below). The quotes below are some of my favorites and should help explain my baseball obsession and prove, with evidence, why baseball is the greatest game.
Some Of My Favorite Articles And Quotes About Baseball
* Cora after Game 3 (2018-10-27)
“Cora after Game 3 reminds me of Peter Rose and Tony Perez after 1975 World Series Game Six (generally considered the greatest World Series game ever played), which I paraphrase here:
PETE ROSE: This might be the greatest game I’ve ever seen or played in.
SPARKY ANDERSON: Are you guys crazy? We lost a chance to win it and you guys are talking about this game?
TONY PEREZ: Sparky, we know we lost but we’ve got another game tomorrow. We’re going to win it.”
* A P.S. To World Series Game 3 Now That I’m A Bit More Awake (2018-10-27)
“There is nobody to ‘blame’ for this game [an 18-inning loss]. Before the final at-bat, each team had only allowed a solo home run and a goofy infield run. Each had a runner picked off base. If you told me that the Red Sox would only allow 3 runs over 18 innings, I’d take it. In short, World Series Game 3 was epic, historic, long, and memorable. But the reality is that LA had to play two full game to win just one. Game 4 later today. Sox in 5!”
* Game One: Everything Alex Cora Touches Turns to Gold (2018-10-24)
“I’m just gonna consider Cora above reproach. At this point, the man could stick a loaf of bread, a bear, my Aunt Bess, a cardboard cutout of Beyonce or two guys in a horse costume into tonight’s line-up. And I guarantee he’d get at least three hits and an RBI from the bread.”
* Rename Yawkey Way Yaz Way (2017-08-22)
“Carl ‘Yaz’ Yastrzemski is the last great American baseball player…. Yaz has never sought the spotlight and would not advocate for his number being retired (which happened in 1989), a statue outside of Fenway Park (which happened in 2013), or a street named after him. Which is precisely why we should advocate for him….. Red Sox Nation should rally around its founding father and convince Red Sox ownership to rename Yawkey Way to Yaz Way. There are certainly other deserving Red Sox greats. But Yaz changed everything. Ted has a tunnel, David has a bridge, Yaz deserves a way!”
* Red Sox World Series Game 6: More Than A Game (2013-10-31)
“A top 10 moment at Fenway with my best friend…. Many have wondered about my baseball obsession. Let me try to explain. I grew up (relatively) poor in Maine and my parents did not have the money to buy baseball equipment for Little League. I got my first baseball glove from a yard sale. In fact, I never played organized sports at all, except for intramural hockey at MIT (and for that, I use the word ‘organized’ loosely). But growing up, I always played pickup sports: basketball, football, snow soccer, hockey (yes, pickup hockey), but mostly baseball. Two-on-two baseball, two-on-one baseball, three-on-three, whatever group we could gather. And if there were just two of us, we’d play catch or make up other baseball-related games.”
* ABYB Babe Ruth Royals Spring 2009 Baseball (2009-06-10)
“Baseball games end, baseball endures…. As I said after the game, baseball is the greatest game in the world because it is democratic. Each team gets 3 outs per inning, 27 outs per game (or 21 in our league). Baseball is also a metaphor for life. You get out of it what you put into it. Play the game right, and good things will happen.”
* Epic Comeback: Red Sox Win ALCS Game 5 Over Rays 8-7 (2008-10-17)
“Down to their last 7 outs and trailing 7-0, the Boston Red Sox staged one of the most amazing comebacks in history. And I was there…. I won’t say that I slept well last night. I didn’t get to bed until 3:00 am, and I didn’t sleep very much because I (still) have too much adrenaline flowing through my body. I did, however, go to bed wearing my #8 Yaz shirt – and ‘8’ was the lucky number for the Sox in Game 5! Four games, 27 outs, 3 strikes. I love baseball!”
* Red Sox Win 2007 World Series (2007-10-29)
“Red Sox defeat Rockies 4-3, Sox sweep series.”
* Red Sox Perfect Game (2007-10-03)
“A perfect game with my son…. When Ben and I were walking out of the park and back to the subway, we saw two guys ‘dressed’ in person-sized plastic beer cups walking down the street. It didn’t look like they were wearing more than that underneath the cups. ‘Dad, what’s that?’ Ben asked. ‘They’re probably in a fraternity, son,’ I replied.”
* Nine Principles Of Baseball And Life (2007-05-02)
“Philosophy of Baseball: How to Play the Game of Life…. You can’t and won’t always be the fastest, biggest, or smartest in everything that you do. But you can give your best effort. You can choose how to act, and how to react. Responsibility is the ability to choose your own response (response + ability). I don’t care if the team loses. I don’t care if you make an error on every defensive play and strike out every time at the plate. I do care that you play the game correctly. Because in this league, you are learning not just about baseball but about life. You represent yourself, your team, and your town when you play. To paraphrase Albert Einstein, success in life is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.”
* Taking Computing Seriously (Or How The Red Sox Won The World Series) (2005-03-01)
“The Red Sox won the World Series because they got serious about pitching. Good pitching beats good hitting, and an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Prevention is necessary — but not sufficient — for victory, so if your pitcher hurls a perfect game, you’ll still need to score one run to win. In 2004, the Red Sox had both good pitching and good hitting, and enough of each to win it all. And with a strong farm system, the Sox have also made serious plans for their future.”
* Red Sox Thoughts: What It Means To Be A Red Sox Fan (1999-10-18)
“An email message promoted from my email archives to my blog on the last day the 2004 Red Sox were world champions (10/26/05)…. To be a Red Sox fan, you must never give up. Last year, when the Red Sox were one out away from losing the ALDS to the Cleveland Indians three games to one, I told my son Sam (then 4) that Red Sox fans never give up. It didn’t look good, I admitted, but this is why baseball is the best game in the world. You have to play all nine innings. You get three strikes, three outs, nine innings. You will have your chance to perform. Lo and behold, the Red Sox did score in their last at-bat. They didn’t win the game, but they went down fighting. They never gave up. And I told Sam, ‘Just wait until next year.’ Well, this is that next year.”
And this, from the best baseball movie ever:
* Bull Durham (1988)
“Man, that ball got out of here in a hurry!”
And this, about how politics divides us, but sports unites us:
“I always turn to the sports section first. The sports section records people’s accomplishments; the front page nothing but man’s failures.” (1968-07-22)
– SCOTUS Chief Justice Earl Warren
The Red Sox have appeared in 13 World Series, 7 of those, more than half, have been in my lifetime! To those who call Boston Red Sox fans “insufferable” I say this: I suffered for 38 years. Everything from 2004 on is karma!
And if you want to know how the joy of baseball passes from generation to generation, look no further than my stepson, Freddy Ciampa. I’ve known Freddy since he was a 3-year-old. Last year, at age 10, he caught the baseball bug. And at age 11, he played organized ball for the first time (with me reprising my role as Coach Erik). Last night, I woke him up to watch the final out of the 2018 World Series. He was getting ready to take a picture of the last out, I recorded an epic video of our celebration (which I’ve shared privately). That moment, that joy, makes it all worth it. A great feeling as a dad, and as a kid. He will pay it forward, I am sure!
Erik J. Heels claims to publish the #1 blog about technology, law, baseball, and rock ‘n’ roll.