On Baseball and Winning
The first baseball game I ever saw was in Houston at the Astrodome in 1980. My companion explained the rules to me. In school in Scotland we had played a similar game called rounders where we hit a tennis ball with an ungloved hand. My Texan friend tried to explain that a “ball” was really a bad ball, and went on to try to explain a “strike.” This was a concept hard for me to grasp since the ball is not, in fact, struck in a strike, but I eventually learned the vocabulary nonetheless.
When I first came to live in the US in the mid 1980s it seemed to me that the St. Louis Cardinals were always in the World Series. We attended what games we could at Busch stadium and watched the Clydesdales on display, the dalmatian up front and Gussie Busch waving at the cheering crowd. I love the heavy horses.
During my fellowship in Buffalo, one of my co-fellows asked me if we had Clydesdales in Scotland. The question took me by surprise because Glasgow is situated on the great River Clyde. It’s like asking if they have bratwurst in Germany. I answered yes we do, we didn’t export them all. The same fellow later asked if we celebrated Thanksgiving in Scotland. Guess my answer.
Since I moved to St. Louis in 1987, the Cardinals have been in the World Series five times, and won two of them — their overall fall classic wins numbering eleven. But this World Series between the Cardinals and the Red Sox I want to remember an ardent Red Sox fan — Grant Brown. Grant drowned this summer in a pool incident, one of three young people who died tragically in the past few months whose parents I know. Grant was aged six.
Grant’s short life will be celebrated with a Memorial Golf Tournament in Austin, TX, this November, organized by Rusty Shelton, a good friend of the Brown family. The proceeds will go to a scholarship fund in Grant’s honor. I’m sure Grant could have told me what it took me a while to learn, that a strike is when the ball is not struck.
For all of us who are wearing red for our team this week, let’s remember what’s really important— not so much who wins the game, but enjoying the series itself.
Now can anyone tell me why it’s called the World Series when the World doesn’t play?
Tags: baseball, Boston Red Sox, Cardinals, Fall Classic, Grant Brown, Red Sox, Rusty Shelton, St. Louis Cardinals, World Series