In each new season of baseball when I look at the scores and standings of my favorite baseball team, I return again to the days of my boyhood. Baseball was more important to me and to our sports loving nation then than it is today. Other sports now scream for our attention with their fast action, fights and injuries. This change in what fans want to see seems rather perverse to me. My respect for the artistry of the game of baseball remains the same.
My team then and now is the Pittsburgh Pirates. They were my hometown team and I saw many games each season in Forbes Field. Forbes was old when I was a boy in the fifties. Baseball was first played there in 1909. During the years when the Pirates called Forbes Field home, they had a few good teams and players but more that were not. I remember the undersized and light hitting O’Brien twins who played middle infield together in 1953. That season my Pirates finished 8th (last again) with a record of 50 and 144.
The memory of those teams still brings me pain. However, much of that pain is forgotten at the beginning of each new baseball season. I begin every season with the hope that this could be our year.
As a boy, I wore a Stan Musial glove even though “Stan the Man” played for St. Louis. But my heart was pure Pirate. I even envisioned the day I might play for them. That day never came close to happening but oh how I practiced hitting in the hope that it would. A video and song by Kenny Rogers shows what many boys did then. Kenny Rogers song “I am the Greatest.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqRjbeSuHi8
I hope boys (and grown men) still dream. Dreaming, at any age, about what could yet be is what keeps us from giving up.