World Series reflections

It is time for an elder statesman to reflect on the 2019 World Series.

There were some great moments, what with returning to Washington for the first time in 95 years. The spirited Nationals (the third team with a Washington franchise) came on with out-of-sight pitching and locked-in hitters to vanquish a multi-talented Astros squad (which didn’t exist 60 years ago).

Neither the Yankees nor the Dodgers, who represent “the best money can buy,” were around for the show. And, for crying out loud, all of the games were won by the visiting team!

Still, from the perspective of one who has relished the ebb and flow of the game for more than a half-century, this marvelous series must be under a cloud: In this age of instant gratification, this event simply points out that The Grand Old Game is in its Twilight Years. Here and there we had read about the Nationals’ brilliant starters and about the departure of Bryce Harper. But in the “cheap seats” (people who can’t afford the ever-rising costs of cable), we had never even seen that team. Nor the Astros. We got the Braves once in a while and, of course, the Yankees (lore has it that people who hate baseball LOVE the Yankees).

As a kid I used to browse the World Almanac for the box score of a 1920s game between the Boston Braves and the Brooklyn Dodgers. The game, tied at 1-1, was called for darkness after 26 INNINGS — and the starting pitchers were still in the game. But in today’s age of specialization, we might see 10 or more pitchers in a nine-inning game.

People who are too urbane to appreciate the game want to speed the game up. So what do we get? Game delays while a group of people look at televised replays!

This might be the saddest part. Of course, we (with focal lenses) saw some bad calls by human umpires. So the speed-up crowd is calling for electronic officials. Next: There are too many bases-on-balls (and pitchers with reconstructed elbows), so let us have robot pitchers. And since humans can’t hit the robots?

So two of the pitching aces of this series will be on the market for out-of-sight prices. The game won’t get better, but the price of hot dogs will rise!

Yes, we had an exciting series, but the twilight looms. No Dizzy and the Gashouse Gang, no Bambino or Stan the Man or Splendid Splinter.

And Nolan Ryan’s right arm is a distant dream.

But Twilight or no, some of us elders are eagerly awaiting spring training.



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