Baseball's Season of Disillusion

Why is it that Baseball '93 does not send my spirit soaring once again?

A bit of background to the question. Mine is the familiar American story of the son whose father delighted in sharing with him, among many other things in life, a love for baseball. The fact that I played the game passably well added to our enjoyment together as fans. Dad settled one of the burning questions of my boyhood: Who was better, Joe DiMaggio or Ted Williams? (He said that DiMaggio was a great player, while Williams was just a great hitter.) My love for the game endured in no small part because of that relationship.

I should, therefore, feel once again the excitement of Opening Day in the major leagues, when, as the saying goes, every team has a chance to win the World Series. The bursting forth of spring in big league parks around the country, the reappearance of established stars, the arrival of the rookie who might become another Willie Mays or a Sandy Koufax -- all of this has gotten my blood racing in other years.

What is more, two dramatic stories that should fill any fan's cup of joy to overflowing will play out during the '93 season. Nolan Ryan, the all-time strikeout leader, makes a last round of National League parks in a long farewell to the game after a remarkable 26-year career. He will win several more games and add dozens of batters to his strikeout total -- and then next October tip his cap for the last time to the cheers of crowds around the league. Great theater.

A different kind of drama also unfolds in this new season as Bo Jackson attempts to play big league ball with an artificial hip. In 1991, near the beginning of a promising baseball career, Jackson injured his hip playing professional football. Should he regain something of his former speed and power and grace, the comeback of Bo Jackson could itself make the season of '93 one for the books.

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Sojourners Magazine May 1993
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