Day: October 17, 2016

Loss, Rebirth, Baseball, and Why Old Places Matter

You may have heard that my team – the Washington Nationals – lost last Friday, a loss which ended their season.  You may be surprised to know that while disappointed, I can live with that outcome. After 50+ years of watching sports, I find that low expectations are the key to happiness. In my mind, baseball – with its timeless, cyclical rhythms and its “symbolic and literal journey ‘home’” – contains values and appeal that overshadow mere winning and losing and match the values and appeal we espouse in discussing why old places matter.  What touches many in both fields is a sense of the familiar, the building upon the past while adding new meaning today, and a reality that recognizes difficult as well as celebratory history. A. Bartlett Giamatti – PhD professor in comparative literature, president of Yale University, commissioner of baseball, and a lifelong fan of the Boston Red Sox until his untimely death in 1989 – understood both accomplishment and loss. In A Great and Glorious Game, Giamatti said of baseball, “It …