Make no mistake, there are two indisputable facts of life.
First, baseball is the greatest game ever. Not in the tacky, shallow “Baseball is life, man” tee shirt sense. No, it’s deeper. Every good and bad thing in life, everything that really matters, is found between those foul lines, in batter’s boxes and dugouts and on-deck circles across our land. Joy, integrity, treachery. Compassion, loyalty, deceit. Math, Physics, and History. Heartbreak. Redemption. Lessons in fairness and cheating and tragedy. A smart ballplayer — and there really are no stupid ballplayers, are there, I mean other than Kenny Powers? — walks off the field more aware, more experienced, more prepared for the rest of the world outside that diamond.
Second, Mickey Mantle was the greatest player ever to pick up a glove. Don’t argue. Don’t throw stats up there. Just live with it.
William Walker grew up in Seattle, when the Yankees took the field on the black & white every Saturday morning, when Curt Gowdy and Dizzy Dean gave us the sounds of summer. Before the Pilots jerked us around and broke our hearts. Before the Mariners put their forty-year clown show on the field to cater to shallow fans who love barbecue and facebooking pictures of themselves drinking beer with the game behind them, behind them for God’s sake. William grew up when real gods strode the field, Bob Gibson and Frank Robinson and Mickey Mantle and Hank Aaron.
William is the author of the disturbing novel, Diamonds and Dirt. He’s looking for a publisher. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org .