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Thursday, October 13, 2016

Shift focus and 'Play Ball'

“Baseball is a game that shouts, 'Slow Down' to America. Stop tweeting, texting, blogging, watching cable news, and obsessing about polls, lost planes, and focus-group-driven politicians.” – Mike Barnicle

A native of Massachusetts and longtime journalist for both print and electronic media, Barnicle has authored thousands of columns about American life, politics, religion and sports.  I was reminded of his writing, particularly about baseball, while watching the exciting first-round playoff series between the Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants and thinking how this time of the year – league playoffs and World Series season – is always such a good one for those of us who love THE GAME.

As a former baseball writer (I spent a year covering the Cincinnati Reds' Triple A team for a Gannett newspaper) and practitioner of the game -- since 3rd grade -- I'm always gladdened when the playoffs and World Series arrive.  And that's especially true this year, with all the uproar and negativity surrounding us during the Presidential campaign.  It's gratifying to focus instead on a sporting event that has been part of America's culture for over 150 years. 

Barnicle put it so well in one of his own remembrances:   “That's one of the great gifts of this, the greatest of all games, baseball: it allows you, still, to lose yourself in a dream, to feel and remember a season of life when summer never seemed to die and the assault of cynicism hadn't begun to batter optimism.”
Today is Barnicle’s 73rd birthday and it’s             
been enjoyable to look up some of his award-winning columns and view some clips from his appearances on Morning Joe, Hardball With Chris Matthews, The Today Show, and 60 Minutes (Some, but definitely not all of the TV and radio programs on which he has so often appeared).

Recently he lamented about America’s immersion into technology and how it has affected the way we receive and digest events.   “Everyone has a smart phone, and everything is recorded,” he said.  “One event spills into another. Conclusions come quickly at the near total expense of consideration of what just actually happened.”  Let's focus, instead, on something positive.  Play ball!

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