Baseball Rules!
An Opinion piece by Russell D. Hoffman written September 6th, 1998:

Go Sosa Go!

We are rootin' for Sosa in the Home Run Derby!

This is the best thing that has ever happened to Baseball!

Cubbies in a pennant race! This is exciting! The Yankees are now the fastest team to 100 wins. This makes diehard Yankee fans (like me) ecstatic. And best of all, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, two gentlemen heros of baseball, are battling for the home run record.

Those of us who follow baseball are enjoying an alignment of forces which has brought America's most wonderful sport to the forefront of people around the world. Baseball is patience. Baseball is statistics. Baseball is a gentlemen's sport. Please take this opportunity to watch baseball, if you have never paid attention to it before. Feel the crowd. Think about what the pitcher is thinking, what the catcher is suggesting the pitcher throw, what the batter is thinking the catcher is suggesting and the pitcher is accepting, and then, think about what the umpires say actually happened. They are usually right, -- it's incredible, really, how seldom they are wrong. But even so, their job is actually not to be right. Their job is to be fair. When they are wrong, don't be sure they aren't still being fair. You'd have to know the player, the umpire, the season, the standings, and the stadium to be sure you know which calls are fair and which are not. However, you (the audience) are allowed to complain if you don't like the call. You just can't do anything about it. And, the umpire is always right in the end, because they can make up for their mistakes with other mistakes.

It's a wonderful sport and thank goodness not one single umpire will ever admit that what I've just written is true. I've heard pitches called balls that were in fact, strikes "belt high, right down Broadway", when that was the only fair call to make. The pitcher, the batter, the teams and the people in the stands all appreciated the errant call. Welcome to baseball. It's complexity is astounding.

Baseball is a game of statistics. Billy Martin, arguably the greatest manager of any team, ever, played a game of strict adherence to the odds and to the team (the Yankees). His players knew how to bunt, how to hit a sac. fly. They knew all the fundamentals and he commanded them to use those tools, to the detriment of their own statistics, to improve the team's overall chance of winning. And they would do it. He got them to do it. Even Ricky Henderson. That is a great manager. Billy Martin was a great manager.

So welcome, visitors from around the world who expected to find something serious at this web site. I've held back long enough and feel compelled by my emotions to post my comments. Please go watch America's favorite pastime, go enjoy Sosa and the Cubbies, McGwire and the Cardinals, and the whole great Yankee team in their quests for tiny but historic lines in thick record books (with or without asterisks). Kick back, and enjoy the Great American Pastime.

Enjoy it, folks, because this is as good as it gets.

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Last modified September 14th, 1998.
Webwiz: Russell D. Hoffman
Copyright (c) Russell D. Hoffman