Author Topic: George Will on baseball  (Read 402 times)

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Offline pjohns

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George Will on baseball
« on: April 03, 2014, 02:15:16 PM »
Presumably, most others here know (or at least suspect) that I am a fan of George Will.  He is exceedingly cerebral.  Very few others--perhaps Rich Lowry, Richard Brookhiser, and the late William F. Buckley Jr.--can compare to him, in this regard.

What many may not realize, however, is that Mr. Will is an avid baseball fan--to phrase it as mildly as possible.  In fact, on several occasions, he has mused that he does politics just to support his baseball habit.  (His 1990 bestseller, Men at Work:  The Craft of Baseball, stands as a tribute to this fact.) 

A recent interview with his fellow conservative, Hugh Hewitt--as regarding his latest book, A Nice Little Place on the North Side:  Wrigley Field at 100--makes for a very good read.

Following are a few of Mr. Will's comments from this interview:

Quote
Now here’s the thing. You go to the really modern ballpark, and the scoreboard makes keeping score kind of irrelevant, because there’s so much information up there. But Wrigley Field has that old hand-operated scoreboard, and they don’t have all that stuff. And no Major League scoreboard has the statistic that I think’s most important, which is first pitch strikes. So I always mark down how many first pitch strikes to each batter the pitcher throws, and that makes me think that I’m doing something that only I can do. ...

The Cubs won the Cold War, and I’ll tell you how it happened. In 1919, William Wrigley, after whom the ballpark is named, bought Catalina Island off the coast of Southern California. In 1921, he sent his team out there to do spring training. In 1934-35, in the mid-30s, a radio broadcaster who did the Cubs games by recreation talked to his station in Des Moines and said look, would you send me to Catalina Island to cover the Cubs spring training? His name was Dutch Reagan. They sent him out there, and while he was out there, he said you know, I am going to try and get a screen test. He got a screen test, and became Ronald Reagan, became a movie star, stayed around long enough to get disgusted with the politics of Hollywood, became a conservative, gave the famous speech for Goldwater in ’64, ran for governor in ’66, got reelected in ’70, ran for president in ’76, got elected in ’80, won the Cold War, and that’s why the Cubs won the Cold War. ...

I would never call Stan Musial Stan, and I knew Bob Feller. And I always referred to him as Mr. Feller. You know, if you gave Bob Feller back the four years that he lost to the Second World War, that would be at least 80 more wins, and almost everyone would say he’s one of the greatest two or three pitchers who ever lived. ...

Well you know, baseball in the early days was a rough sport, full of people who fought their way out of the mine of Pennsylvania and elsewhere to get into baseball. It wasn’t until about fifteen years ago that California passed Pennsylvania as the state that had provided the most Major League Baseball players. Baseball was an escape in a hard America with hard working conditions, and they fought like tigers to keep their jobs against the young people coming up. ...

I grew up in Champagne, Illinois, midway between Chicago and St. Louis. And at an age too tender to make life-shaping decisions, I had to choose between being a Cub fan and a Cardinal fan. All my friends became Cardinal fans and grew up cheerful and liberal. And I became a gloomy, embattled conservative, partly because Harry Carey, who was the Cardinals broadcaster, was so insufferably supportive of the Cardinals. Now I understand that’s the job of the play by play broadcaster. But he sort of drove me into the arms of the Cubs, and therefore ruined my life.


Mr. Will does note, however, that there is an upside to being a Cubs fan:  One is really never disappointed, since one always has very low expectations--even in those (rare) years in which the Cubs appear to be faring quite well. 

The entire interview is remarkably good (albeit rather lengthy).  For those with the extra time necessary to read and fully disgest it, here is the link:  Not An April Fools' Joke: Tribe Wins Opener With A Shutout And George Will On Bud Selig And The Commissioner's Job « The Hugh Hewitt Show
« Last Edit: April 03, 2014, 10:41:38 PM by pjohns »

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Re: George Will on baseball
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2014, 06:28:39 PM »
Thanks for posting this.

Had the pleasure of meeting him back in 1987.

When both he and Charles Krauthammer on on the Big-Hour Panel....it doesn't get any better.
"It aint what you don't know that kills you.  It's what you know that aint so!" ...Theodore Sturgeon

"Journalism is about covering the news.  With a pillow.  Until it stops moving."    - Iowahawk

"You can lead a liberal to the Truth, but you can't make them Think" - damned if I know

Offline pjohns

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Re: George Will on baseball
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2014, 07:22:25 PM »
Thanks for posting this.

Had the pleasure of meeting him back in 1987.

When both he and Charles Krauthammer on on the Big-Hour Panel....it doesn't get any better.

And thanks for the response.

Yes, George Will and Charles Krauthammer on the same panel--who are very good friends of each other, by the way--is about as good as it gets.

Oh, on  tonight's Special Report on FNC, George Will repeated a joke (which I had never before heard). It goes like this:

Question: What do the Chicago Cubs and the Miami Marlins have in common?

Answer: Neither has ever won a World Series in its new ballpark.

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Re: George Will on baseball
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2014, 07:33:21 PM »
Are you an avid baseball fan, pjohns?

Crazy about it.  Gave me my foundation.....well, that, and the Sisters of Mercy.  LOL!

 :beer:

It is amazing how throwing the 1st pitch for a strike has such an effect on the AB.   I've followed that stat for a long while....since I read Will and Boswell.

"It aint what you don't know that kills you.  It's what you know that aint so!" ...Theodore Sturgeon

"Journalism is about covering the news.  With a pillow.  Until it stops moving."    - Iowahawk

"You can lead a liberal to the Truth, but you can't make them Think" - damned if I know

Offline pjohns

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Re: George Will on baseball
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2014, 04:38:01 PM »
Are you an avid baseball fan, pjohns?

Well, nominally.

When I was younger, I considered the game too slow-moving to be enjoyable.

Now, however--perhaps it is just because I am growing older--rapid-fire play is no longer necessary to entertain me.  The cerebral nature of baseball--looking upon each new pitch as a discrete entity, dependent upon the ball-strike count; the number of outs already achieved; and the runners' position on base (if any)--is increasingly appealing to me. 

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Re: George Will on baseball
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2014, 05:00:05 PM »
Well, nominally.

When I was younger, I considered the game too slow-moving to be enjoyable.

Now, however--perhaps it is just because I am growing older--rapid-fire play is no longer necessary to entertain me.  The cerebral nature of baseball--looking upon each new pitch as a discrete entity, dependent upon the ball-strike count; the number of outs already achieved; and the runners' position on base (if any)--is increasingly appealing to me.

It was either George Will or Thomas Boswell who said, "Attending a [professional] baseball game is like going to church.  Many attend, but few [fully] understand".

And yet the game can be enjoyed on many different levels.  It doesn't matter how cerebral you want to become about it. 

...cause it comes down to two things....1) trying to hit the ball where they ain't.  2) Upsetting the hitter's timing on his swing.

Give me Opening Day and a fresh new season anytime...over the NFL.
"It aint what you don't know that kills you.  It's what you know that aint so!" ...Theodore Sturgeon

"Journalism is about covering the news.  With a pillow.  Until it stops moving."    - Iowahawk

"You can lead a liberal to the Truth, but you can't make them Think" - damned if I know

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Re: George Will on baseball
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2014, 04:00:46 PM »
Courage?  COURAGE??

I'll tell you guyz what REAL courage is.


Throwing a change-up ...swinging strike, on your 1st pitch to B.J. Upton IN THE 8TH INNING with a one-run lead.


PS:  NATS up 2-1 over ATLANTA in the 9th.  Desmond hit a gargantuan HR on a 102 mph fastball .....that STILL hasn't come down.


"It aint what you don't know that kills you.  It's what you know that aint so!" ...Theodore Sturgeon

"Journalism is about covering the news.  With a pillow.  Until it stops moving."    - Iowahawk

"You can lead a liberal to the Truth, but you can't make them Think" - damned if I know

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Re: George Will on baseball
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2014, 07:43:51 AM »


David Ortiz was handed this baby as he was signing autographs....then the Star Spangled Banner started playing.    :beer:
"It aint what you don't know that kills you.  It's what you know that aint so!" ...Theodore Sturgeon

"Journalism is about covering the news.  With a pillow.  Until it stops moving."    - Iowahawk

"You can lead a liberal to the Truth, but you can't make them Think" - damned if I know


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