On baseball and redemption

Apr 10, 2008 by Jared Smith

I love baseball. I don’t really follow the game and players that closely, but I love watching the game – especially in person. I love the strategies and intricacies of the rules. If you know how a double switch works, you can probably relate. I love to keep score – I sometimes even keep score when watching at home on TV.

I went to 5 MLB games last season. There are few things like watching a pro game, particularly in Yankee Stadium. Mark, if you ever have an opportunity to move back to New York, please consider the environment at the H.H.H Metrodome to the House that Ruth Built in your decision. And considering that the vast majority of our family rarely leaves S.E. Idaho and pretty much despises any city larger than Rexburg, you really are my only hope at having an excuse to go back to the Big Apple.

the ball rolls past Bill BucknerOne of baseball’s most decisive moments is the Buckner Ball – when Mookie Wilson hit a slow ground ball that rolled beneath the glove, through the legs of Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner, and into right field to win Game 6 of the 1986 World Series (watch the video). The Red Sox, who led the best-of-7 series 3 games to 2 over the Mets, hadn’t won a World Series since 1918. Their very real hopes at a title were shattered in that moment. They had been ahead by 2 in the 10th inning with two outs before losing on Buckner’s error. They went on to lose Game 7. The World Series drought, epitomized by Buckner, would continue until 2004.

Now Bill Buckner was an excellent player – one of the best batters in baseball – but in one moment became immortalized for his mistake. “To pull a Buckner” became slang for screwing up. The Buckner Ball was sold for $93,000 (to Charlie Sheen, interestingly). He became the poster boy for embarrassing defeat and failure. Bill Buckner retired a few years after and now owns a car dealership and lives a quiet life in Kellogg, Idaho where he is continually reminded, not so much about his great career, but about his big screw up – his Buckner.

Well, the Red Sox have moved on, bucked the curse, and won two World Series. Much has been written about forgiving Buckner for his folly. Baseball fans remember, but they also forgive. This week, immediately after a ceremony where the 2007 Red Sox were given their World Series Champion rings, they announced that Bill Buckner would throw out the opening pitch. He was received with a 4 minute standing ovation. The emotional Buckner had been redeemed and cast off his demons. If only we had allowed this to happen sooner. I love baseball.

  1. One Response to “On baseball and redemption”

  2. Jared,
    you will be happy to know Minnesota is in the process of throwing millions of dollars down the drain as we speak!! I mean, they are building a new Twins stadium, right smack downtown. Mark can even see it from his office. So, no more games in the ‘dome as of next year. Personally, I like the ‘dome. I would be much more willing to go to a game knowing I can sit in beautifully air conditioned comfort as I wait impatiently for the 3 most boring hours of my life to pass. So if you’re out this way next summer, you can test out the new Twins digs. Or you and Mark can take a multi-city baseball stadium tour some time.

    By Melanie on Apr 11, 2008

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