Baseball Is… A Lot of Fun

What an enjoyable little book! My good friend Paul Dickson, well known for his writing on the history of baseball and other aspects of American history, has assembled a witty and sometimes funny collection of comments from a range of people characterizing the game we all love, whether we know it or not. Baseball has long been used as a metaphor for life, meaning, the universe, God, and anything else anyone can think of. I have heard it used to teach lessons in the bedroom, the board room, and the bar; in the church and in the community center; and even on the all knowing, all seeing television.

Here are just a few of my favorite statements from the book:

  •  “Baseball is simple but never easy”—Roger Angell.
  • “In the great department store of life, baseball is the toy department”—Anonymous.
  • “Baseball is the slowest sport this side of long-distance needlepoint”—Russell Baker.
  • “Baseball is ninety percent mental. The other half is physical”—Yogi Berra.
  • “Baseball is the only sport where you can do everything 100 percent right and still fail”—Wade Boggs.
  • “Baseball, my son, is the cornerstone of civilization”—Dagwood Bumstead.
  • “Baseball is not unlike war, and when you get right down to it, we batters are the heavy artillery”—Ty Cobb.
  • “Baseball is a romance, marked by good days and bad, heartaches and thrills, ups and downs, but always with each day promising something new”—Michele Walters Costa.
  • “Baseball is very big with my people. It figures. It’s the only time we get to shake a bat at a white man without starting the riot”—Dick Gregory.
  • “Baseball is the only game you can see on the radio”—Phil Hersh.
  • “Baseball is the most important thing in life that doesn’t matter”—Robert B. Parker.
  • “It is said that baseball is only a game. Yes, and the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona”—George Will.

I also enjoyed one from Nuke Laloosh in the classic baseball movie Bull Durham: “A good friend of mine used to say, ‘This is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains.’ Think about that for a while.” I also like that he included a quote from Annie Savoy from the same film: “Baseball is never boring. Which makes it like sex.” Just great!

Buck up baseball fans, this book is for you. It contains a loving set of statements about baseball and its meaning. Some of them are trite, some silly, some compelling, some enlightening, and some provocative. All of them are entertaining.

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