Baseball Is ~ Hope Springing Eternal

"You Gotta Have Heart ... Miles and Miles and Miles of Heart!"

“You Gotta Have Heart …
Miles and Miles and Miles of Heart!”

 

In all consideration of baseball’s organic connection to life itself, it is impossible to tread again upon that tie without laying the foundation of all else that follows. And that broad base simply happens to be everything that stirs our lust for a life well lived – from the inside out – in all we do – from the soul-investing moment of our very first breath to our last quiet or loud exhalation. The trinity of love, faith, and hope governs all – free of the lesser ambitions of the human ego for acquisition and power – and fastened solidly to the idea of giving all that we genuinely are – back to life – with the tools we possess as individuals that came to us from life – regardless of the name we assign to our creator.

For those of us who are Christian – and these ideas do not apply exclusively to Christians – or even to deistic believers alone – this Easter weekend is a great time to share these thoughts anyway – and how the trinity of our three greatest energy forces in life apply to the game that so many of us Americans especially love. And there it is. No honest talk of baseball can move far without acknowledging that our forever first force in life – in marriage, family, friendship, creativity or baseball – is always “love”.

We are born on the wings of love. Love is also what comes to us when we meet our true soul mate – and love is what remains with the survivor of that union – when one partner dies before the other. And love is what still lives within the person who either never met – or feels they lost their soul mate to abandonment or immaturity. Love is never absent – but it is often hard to see or accept when life is going tough. – Sometimes, we simply mistake the absence of immediate consolation in our lives as the absence of love, but that is not the case. – Love never dies – or goes away. – We complexly go away or get lost from it.

If love never dies, then maybe we need to open our hearts to the understanding that life neither – ever dies – and that we simply need to look for “forever” in the place it always lives – in the only time zone that is not governed by the clocks – in a place called the present – the here and now – and the here and now – is eternal – the only time zone that is real.

The present never goes away. – We simply go away from it. – The more we are able to remain in the here and now – untethered to resentment and regret about the past – and free of expectation, fear or doubt about the future – the easier it is for us to find the strike zone with whatever we happen to be pitching – or conversely, hitting. I’ve always believed that Yogi Berra’s famous answer to the question, “What do you think about when you’re hitting, Yogi?” was based upon his instinctual awareness that “thinking” is what drives us out of the “here and now” – and that thinking in the moment of hitting is what destroys the present-focus we need to embrace to have any good chance of hitting a baseball coming at us in the mid-90s.

Remember what Yogi said? “I don’t think nothing. I can’t hit and think at the same time” – or something akin to that paraphrase.

Stay in the here and now to hear this next statement (Then think about it all you want): Faith in a power greater than ourselves is what gets us wherever we may be trying to go. The 1927 New York Yankees won 110 games. – They also lost 44 games. – By all accounts, however, they were one of the greatest teams of the early twentieth century – maybe of all time. – Do I really need to mention the names of the guys who played for that team to this readership? – I didn’t think so.

The point here is – the ’27 Yankees were a club with great individual ability – but also one that believed in themselves as a team. They didn’t take the field expecting to win – but they carried with them the belief that winning was always possible – anytime they took the field. Again, the power of the present moment is also the residence of “faith”. – Faith is inherent to the moment that a pitcher working in the “here and now” mind-state releases a rising inside fastball – that the ball is on its way to sending a message to the batter about his distance from the plate.

As for baseball played without faith, the old St. Louis Browns are but a single example of what happens to perpetual “losers” in the area of faith. – Faith does require results that justify restoration – once a team starts losing at a dynastic pace. A few of the old surviving Browns that I have known in my lifetime (men who shall remain nameless here in respect for their ancient wishes) admitted to me long ago that things reached a point where the only question that came up daily was “I wonder how we are going to lose today?” (I never had a chance to discuss this same phenomenon with any members of the 2012-2013 Houston Astros.)

And the last leg of our three-point stool in the “here and now” is hope. The importance of Hope in baseball- spells itself out in the “Damn Yankees” song “Heart” – “You gotta have hope – Mustn’t sit around and mope! – Oh, it’s fine to be a genius, of course – but keep that old horse – before the cart! – First – you gotta have heart!”

And “Heart” is a good name for this rediscovery of “forever” as always existing only in the present moment. “Heart” is the place where Love, Faith, and Hope all flourish forever in the here and now – as the place for joyful focused accomplishment in baseball – and in everyday life. In the end, “Heart” is the name that embraces everything I’m trying to share with each of you today.

We don’t really “gotta have heart”. – We’ve already got it. – We simply have to let our own paths of passion flow into the use of our hearts in giving of ourselves to life in ways of our own choosing – and sometimes – in response to issues in life that call out to us – if we only have ears to hear the invitation.

Happy Easter Weekend, Friends – even if you are just waiting on the Easter Bunny!

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