Electronic Quill

Play Ball!

The phrase brings back happy memories of hot dogs with relish, and cheering for our favorite players.

We took the Jerome Avenue Exit off the highway to get to Yankee Stadium, yelled joyfully at hits and homers, and relished a day of sun and fun.

My Mom's favorite was left-fielder Charlie Keller, now recognized as "the Yankee great history forgot". Named Minor League Player of the Year in 1937, Keller played in the 1939 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds when only 22 years old. As the record books show, he went 7 for 16, hitting .438, with 2 homers in game 3 and another in game 4, and had more extra-base hits than the entire Reds team. (1)

At that time Lou Gehrig's annual salary was $36,000., although the Yankee's owner claimed that no player was worth more than $31,000. That salary would translate to roughly $7 million today. By comparison, Freddie Freeman just joined the Los Angeles Dodgers for a salary equaling about $27 million dollars annually.

Today's game has changed radically. Both major leagues now have designated hitters. Pitchers are timed between throws. Catchers can now communicate to pitchers electronically, so that no one can steal their signs. Garlic fries now outshine hot dogs.

Political leaders worldwide seem not to know how to play ball, with others or each other. It's each man for himself, with little regard for consequences. They still play mind games, but the bats and balls have been replaced by nuclear weapons. It is not the ballgame that is now at stake: it is the future of the species.

Perhaps it is naive to talk about consequences. When you are ensconced in bullet-proof chauffeur-driven vehicles, awash in untold billions, unchallenged by millions of passive, unquestioning humans, then consequnces lose all reality. Some other method needs to be found to impact the impervious.

"If only he had played", a psychiatrist has written recently of Putin's childhood. Like Hitler and Stalin before him, Putin seems to have no empathy. And he is not alone on the world stage.

For me, the question is, why do we elect leaders who have no capcacity to look beyond personal power and enrichment? The suffering of others seems not to impact their decisions, their choices.(2)

The next question is, what happens to our children who have lost the space and time to play with each other? The kids who grow up behind masks and immersed in electronic screens, who play games not with each other but with robotic avatars where the aim is to kill and maim. Remember, robots do not bleed.

But human enemies do.

"Play nice" becomes an antiquated ethic, relegated to an attic full of mothballed kindness, morality, integrity and compassion, quaint artifacts from a past filled with petticoats and horse-drawn carriages.

How can nations play ball, when their leaders do not know how to play?

"Do they not know that under the uniforms of skins and races

and battlefields littered with gashed faces

All blood is red?" (3)

The end game may well be the end of humanity. There may be no home runs, because there will be no homes to run to, and no legs left to run on.

c. Corinne Whitaker 2022

(1) Baseballl News

(2)Reports of extreme sexual violence are emerging from Ukraine. Note: this link describes disturbing acts of brutality.

(3) Corinne Whitaker, Beyond

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