Stealing First Base?

Real Sports Champions

By Harry M. Covert

The idea that a baseball batter can steal first base is repulsive to fandom across the land. It’s similar to the political crackpots roaring to and fro, up and down, and deadly aimed to change everything good.

It is a must time to stand up and reject those determined to ruin the national pastime. The word is they are atavists, meaning they hate tradition.

There is nothing out of kilter about the traditional baseball rules used in all levels. Trying new things? Sure that’s acceptable. But, please, no wrecking the game that’s endured.

Baseball moguls think fans want shorter times for nine inning games. Not so. It is getting absolutely crazy to try out computers calling balls and strikes in an east coast league. That’s blasphemous to all lovers of the game.

On the Major League level it is all dollars and cents. The teevee networks and advertisers enjoy the time they have for commercials and promotions. That’s understandable.

There are other cockamamie plans contemplated to change baseball. Remember the game is basic: pitchers pitch, batters hit, infielders and outfielders catch and throw.

How exciting. These days team owners are making wads of cash and the players, some of them, are getting incredible payoffs. If the owners and stockholders are enjoying heavy paydays, why not the athletes? Don’t refer to the players as kids, please.

For the record, there is no comparison of professional baseball warriors to soccer, either the professional girls or, to be equal, the boys, who want equal remuneration.

If the soccer girls can bring in the revenue, let their agents put the arm on the owners. Around the world soccer is known as football. It sure ain’t the game played on gridirons everywhere in USA stadiums for high school, college and professional games.

Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are sacred to American sports fans and players. Broadcasters cash in, too. No matter how it’s described, football revenue is awesome. Baseball moneys are incredible. Everybody misses Howard Cosell, Dandy Don Meredith, Red Barber, Mel Allen and others.

Talk about fun and games, the idea of stealing first base is crazy. Smashing a home run pitch is exalting. Touchdown runs and passes are thrilling.

Tradition is good, but the professional soccer procedures surely are different and need another half century to reach the major league stature of MLB, NFL even NHL, the National Hockey League.

If anything, recent machinations of the girls FIFA Women’s World Cup won by the American team was nice. This is only available every four years.

No way to compare that to the World Series, the Super Bowl, or the Stanley Cup.

How refreshing to compare sports with the other national pastime, politics.

What joy there was when Hank Aaron, broke Babe Ruth’s home run record; Cal Ripken Jr.’s besting Lou Gehrig’s consecutive game playing; Roberto Clemente; Sandy Koufax, watching Johnny Unitas or Artie Donovan of the Baltimore Colts, Broadway Joe Namath, Redskins’ “Bullet” Bill Dudley, Sonny Jurgenson, Charlie “Choo Choo” Justice; Hockey’s Gordie Howe, “Rocket” Richard, Wayne Gretzky. The list goes on.

In the meantime, who gives a hoot which soccer players visit the White House? None at this aerie. But, consider such athletes as Jim Thorpe, Joe Louis, Jack Dempsey, Rocky Marciano, Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer, Tony Lema. These are real champions. Oh yes, another for today is women’s soccer heroine Kelley O’Hara, who proudly grabbed the flag in France.

This essay has appeared in The Tentacle.