Another Season in the Sun

October 31, 2011

Columbus, MS, News, Sports

“Another Season in the Sun”:  A Reflection by Dick Mahoney

Hail to the Champions, The St. Louis Cardinals! A very interesting World Series and now the 2011 baseball season is in the books, there for dissection by the participants of the “Hot Stove League” and for analysis by the statisticians of the game. Now the real business of baseball, the auctioning of the free agents, can begin in earnest.   

However, it is a time for dealing with the sense of loss that inevitably arises in the minds of the hard-core fans who celebrate the “three seasons” of the game (spring training, the regular season and the post-season). “Wait ‘til next year” was never the solely owned lament of the fans of the former Brooklyn Dodgers, but rather the arguable expression of grief to those banished to the hinterlands of the fourth season….the off-season. This is especially true in the northeast, where baseball had its’ roots, and the chill winds of winter blow exceedingly cold, and the green fields of summer are buried in drifts of white. It is hard to conceive that such feelings could resonate in the south, where football tends to reign supreme, and warmer weather prevails.

The plaintive cry of the true fan was never expressed more eloquently than by the late A. Bartlett Giamatti, a native New Englander. This former President of Yale University who became the President of the National League in 1986, succeeding Chub Feeney, and who was later elevated to the position of Commissioner of Baseball in 1989 was the epitome of those for whom the romance of the game is ever-present.

The shortest tenured commissioner in the history of baseball, Giamatti served only 154 days before succumbing to a massive heart attack at his home on Cape Cod. A common speculation was that his demise was hastened by the tensions of the ongoing problem of the Basic Agreement Contract disputes between players and management, as well as his overseeing of the banishment of Pete Rose from the game in that short period. Hard reality arguably diminished unabashed romance for Giamatti.

The intellectual Giamatti had written a brief reflective commentary, “The Green Fields of the Mind”. His words reflect an expression of the feelings of many who still consider the game to be the “National Pastime”, where the game exists between the white lines and begins when the umpire yells “Play Ball!”

It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoon and evenings, and then, as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, ant the just when the days are all twilight, it stops…and summer is gone.”

— Dick Mahoney is an avid Red Sox fan who grew up in Boston. He played semi-pro baseball for the Columbus Redbirds after moving to Mississippi in 1965. He has written a number of Major League feature stories, and has played in eight Roy Hobbs World Series in Fort Myers, FL.. He currently teaches a Continuing Ed. Course in baseball at the U. of Alabama.

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One Comment on “Another Season in the Sun”

  1. K Gregg Says:

    I liked your article, Mr. Mahoney. Excellent elaboration on the passion for the sport of baseball. Enjoyed it!


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