Thursday, March 26, 2020

Quote of the Day (Michael Lewis, on Baseball, Continuity and Nostalgia)

“There’s money to be made off exploiting other people’s nostalgia. Baseball, unlike other sports, is selling its connection to the past. I think that’s why baseball is nostalgic. People naturally associate baseball not just with childhood but with their father....The interesting thing is that baseball is so unmodern. The modern world is all about embracing change and disrupting. The truth about baseball is if there's no continuity, it's kind of boring. It's slow; it's not the pace of modern life. Basketball is the pace of modern life.” —Moneyball author Michael Lewis quoted in “Soapbox—The Columnists: WSJ. Asks Six Luminaries to Weigh in on a Single Topic. This Month: Nostalgia,”, October 2019

Today would have marked opening day in baseball. It’s lamentable, if not downright tragic, that the coronavirus has disrupted this tradition. The closest I got to the game these past 24 hours was filling out a crossword puzzle on this theme. 

Baseball, when it functions normally, offers fans like me a point in common with other people whom we would share little else with. It is a diversion from the tumult of life.

Baseball might be the summer game, but it begins in spring, in hope. Maybe that is why, though the consequences of the coronavirus are far more far-reaching than a mere game, so many of us mourn the delay of the sport.

(The image accompanying this post shows mu favorite player of all time, New York Yankee first baseman Lou Gehrig—a powerful slugger struck down by a medical malady that, like the one now raging across the world, was utterly mysterious when it first appeared.)

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