Monday, April 23, 2012

The Boys of Summer, an MLB Snippet

Every year at this time, Major League Baseball starts up anew with each team having a chance at the pennant.

Originally a narrative by Roger Kahn about the Brooklyn Dodgers, the Boys of Summer now simply represent America's pastime. From McCovey's Cove to Pesky's Pole, Major League Baseball has started another season this month with "Opening Day", as writer Tim Kurkjian once put it, being the best two words in the English language to a baseball fan.

Unlike the other professional sports in America, baseball has a historic connotation to it. The sport of baseball is historic. Starting in the 1800's, MLB has a leg up on the competition in that regard. It also has history on its side in terms of numbers. Every number in baseball is special.

Home runs totals, stolen bases, consecutive games played, and everything else in between all mean something. They all mean something because, although the stadiums and players have changed, the rules have not. It is still 90 feet to first base. It still takes three strikes to get a batter out and four balls to walk him. An overthrow by the shortstop has always been an E-6. Throwing a perfect game will always mean immortality.

These rules of baseball have never changed. Thus, it opens the door to comparing eras, comparing the greats of the past with the greats of today. Each era has its own quirk or identity, yet all can be compared and argued on the basis of the final tallies.

When the Seattle Mariners won 116 regular season games in 2001, tying the mark set by the 1906 Chicago Cubs, it was neither more or less impressive than the season 95 years prior. Those two clubs will be in the record books side by side because baseball is ageless.

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