With Opening Day upon us, I was trying to come up with something poetic to say about the new season, new beginnings, etc. Then I thought about the work of playwright Richard Greenberg. If you don’t know who he is and you’re a baseball fan, look him up. This man can encapsulate the spirit of baseball more succinctly and eloquently than Ken Burns, Field of Dreams or I ever could.
The following is from my favorite play “Take Me Out” by Richard Greenberg.
In baseball there’s no clock.
What could be more generous than to give everyone all these opportunities and the time to seize them in as well? And with each turn at the plate, there’s the possibility of turning the situation to your favor. Down to the very last try.
And then, to ensure that everything remains fair, justices are ranged around the park to witness and assess the play.
And if the justice errs, an appeal can be made.
It’s invariably turned down, but that’s part of what metaphor so right.
Because even in the most well meant of systems, error is inevitable. Even within the fairest of paradigms, unfairness will creep in.
And baseball is better than democracy – or at least than democracy as it’s practiced in this country – because, unlike democracy, baseball acknowledges loss.
While conservatives tell you, “Leave things alone and no one will lose,” and liberals tell you, “Interfere a lot and no one will lose,” baseball says, “Someone will lose.” Not only says it – insists upon it!
So that baseball achieves the tragic vision democracy evades. Evades and embodies.
Democracy is lovely, but baseball is more mature.