Baseball Love

I trust in God
I love my country
And will respect its laws
I will play fair
And strive to win
But win or lose
I will always do my best

The Little League Pledge

If the Astro’s have done what people say, it’s much worse than any other scandal in baseball or professional sports, or at least as bad as the worst. This article in the Atlantic is a pretty simple, quick and good summary of what went down and what it means, it’s a good start.

As a youth sports organizer, coach, mentor and father I’ve been feeling lost since this cheating thing has come to the surface. I’m much better now, but only because I’ve seen the painful gift in this experience.

I’ve been feeling lost because, selfishly, I don’t know what to do about my love of Baseball and the love of Major League Baseball. I know that I love the principles of sportsmanship, embodied in the Little League Pledge and fairness, and hard work, and failure and pain. And if I have to make a choice, which is seems is necessary, my choice will be to look to other spaces for the examples of these positive principles. This is the gift, from a very general standpoint.

I won’t watch Major League Baseball, there, I said it.

It’s actually more like, I won’t be able to, I can’t, I’m repusled by what it would mean if I were to pretend the whole cheating thing either didn’t happen or has found Justice. I simply will turn away.

But I won’t give up the fight. And I won’t be lazy in my own internal and external expression of what’s happened, to that, I will defend what I believe is at stake, and when I say defend, what I mean is…Love. I will love the game of baseball even more. I will love it so much that the seeds and nourishment that has been moved, shifted, replanted, far away from home, in the digital hearts and marketing messages and I will return the love of the game to my heart, to the hearts of green fields and dirt basepaths.

I will return the love to the child who swings and swings, and, finally, makes the connection. To the Little Leaguer who’s struggles all season and in that final at bat, has the success he’s so badly fought for. I will return the love to the second baseman who finally makes the catch, to the all-star who runs full out for 4 seconds and catches the ball in a dive. To all the players who dream about hitting the ball, about popping the mitt about bottom of the ninth, 2 on, 2 out. You have the ball.

But I can’t give up on the Major Leagues, not everyone. What happened did not happen because the game lacks anything. The game is perfect. What happened with the Astros is the same thing that happened to the Presidency. We made trades. You. Me. Them. Everyone made trades and we started trading a long time ago.

The Astros (and maybe my beloved RedSox) are an effect of our collective choices. They are stellar and joyous athletes to watch and they are worthy human beings. They are also examples of how to behave in the world, in a big way. And it doesn’t matter if they don’t want to be or don’t agree. They are examples and they can never be anything else. I hope they take this incredible opportunity to access the power and hope and love that comes with taking responsibility.

And, for my very personal sake, I hope they do this so I can continue to watch, continue to cheer, continue to share with my son and with kids from everywhere, my love love of this perfect game.

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