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Neosho Daily News - Neosho, MO
  • KEVIN WILSON: Baseball is still America’s game

  • Do you ever get depressed over all the bad things happening in the world today?
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  • Do you ever get depressed over all the bad things happening in the world today?  Do you feel that the pace of change is escalating in ever increasing increments?  Are you worried about the world that your children and grandchildren will live in? 
    If you answered yes to all these questions you are definitely not alone.  Every day there is a new political crisis and more violence around the world.  And, civility?  Forget civility for a large part of the populace.  It seems like the world promotes “taking care of number one – me” at the expense of everybody else.
    Of course there are still good people in the world and there are probably more of the “good” people than we realize.  But, the fact is that there is so much bad going on and the “bad” just seems to be getting worse day by day.  What used to be unthinkable is now getting to be routine.
    How sad it is that the world I knew as a child in the 1960s has changed so dramatically in just 50 years.  You don’t have to tell me that things weren’t all roses in those days – I realize that we had a lot of problems in society and around the world.  But, at the same time we felt safe in the country and thought that we could solve the issues by working together.  That’s not the case in 2013 and that’s sad.
    As I was sinking deeper into my general depression over the state of the country and the world in general I found myself pondering over a very strange thing – baseball.  Some years I really follow baseball and other years not so much. But, this year is one of those that finds me looking at the standings every day and trying to watch as much of the Cardinals as I can.
    I know that we have two major league teams in this state but I have been and always will be a St. Louis fan. It goes back to those days as a kid when my Grandpa Chrisco was always listening to the Cards on his radio. I don’t ever remember being at his house when the game wasn’t on so of course I became a Cardinal fan.  And, I might add, through the good years and the bad – I’m not a fair-weather fan.
    I had the chance during my legislative career to meet a lot of famous and interesting people. But, the biggest thrill I had was when Lou Brock spoke to the Missouri House of Representatives. My desk was in the front of the chamber so as he came off the Speaker’s platform I was right there to shake his hand and get my picture taken with him. He was one of my heroes growing up and is still a classy individual. 
    Page 2 of 2 - So, getting back to my pondering. I was watching a St. Louis game and it dawned on me that baseball is the one constant in this country that hasn’t really changed in the last 100 years. Oh, I know that there have been advancements in equipment and fields and now we have that thing called “instant replay.”  But, the basics of the game have not changed since it was invented. 
    When you look at some of the other professional sports, the players just get taller and bigger and most players from past eras could not hope to compete in today’s NBA or NFL. Now, before you take exception and start naming names of those that could, I realize that there are those athletes that transcend generations. But, for the most part, I think we can agree on my premise.
    But, baseball is a different story.  Yeah, some of the players have gotten bigger and faster but I think Lou Brock and Bob Gibson, Stan Musial and Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays and Dizzy Dean would still be stars if they were playing today. 
    When you watch a baseball game you see players that can hit, some that can throw and some that are fast as lightning all playing at an extremely high level of individual skill. 
    And, there are also players that might not have the same level of skill in one aspect but they put everything that they do have together in such a way that they reach heights no one expects. But, no matter how skilled the individual players are, they can’t consistently win unless they play together as a team.
    It seems to me that baseball is still America’s game. Through depressions, wars and political upheavals baseball has stayed the same. The players still strive to be the best that they can be as individuals but they know that unless they work together they will never be successful.  That’s a lesson that we as a society seem to have forgotten. 
    Maybe more people need to watch (or heaven forbid, just listen) to a baseball game. We might just learn something.  Heck, you can even watch the Royals for that matter.  Just don’t watch the Cubs unless they happen to be playing the Cards.
    Kevin Wilson writes a weekly column for the Daily News.

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