Over the past few years, I’ve become quite habituated to watching Major League Baseball (MLB) during the day and evening. It’s hard to describe my level of fandom as it’s not particularly passionate nor focused on any single team all that much. When the Seattle Mariners are playing AND winning, I’ll watch them. When the Yankees are playing I’ll watch them. My form of watching is rather neglectful as the sound is low, and time can really pass between moments when I’ve tuned into a play. I appreciate the extraordinary plays. And, every day brings a few. One reason that I’ve developed an interest in baseball during the same time that I’ve become an active Michael Student is that I can monitor “Young Soul Age” without disliking all participants.
Watching ambitious competitive greedy business men just riles me up. Watching politicians doesn’t make me feel much better. I’m not really into other popular culture icons of music and entertainment. But, baseball fulfills the bill of being highly competitive, very physical, excelling in both team and individual coordination, working with negative poles over a season, watching the growth and development of individuals over years, watching the big fails, etc. It’s easier to watch people whom I generally like. Naturally, some are far more likable than others; but, still, most aren’t jerks, at least on a regular visible basis.
it’s quite poignant to see the fears that overtake individuals and teams. All of a sudden a top notch player loses his ability to hit or pitch. One day it’s just “gone.” The timing is off just by an infinitesimal millisecond, and their game falls apart. The harder they struggle to regain what they had causes further deviation. The frustration visibly builds over days. This is one reason many baseball players have “good luck” clothing, charms, habits, etc. When a winning streak is regained, it’s not uncommon to see a baseball player or even a team attempt to hold that moment in time — whether it’s shaving or not shaving, wearing the same clothing, washing the same clothing, etc. Even fans get into it, by turning their caps inside out during the final innings of a close game — called “rally caps,” an attempt to rally the home team to winning.
One can never forget that all of the competitivity, the egos in search of records, the wins and losses, the name recognition has one thing driving it all: money. Team owners and stadiums bring in more fans, sell more overpriced hotdogs, the more the home team wins. Similarly, more show up if there is great fame and name recognition to some of the players on the home team or even on the visiting team. There are always more seats sold during any visiting Yankee game. In turn winning players and even managers have contracts that rival movie stars.
This drive for money underlies one of the biggest corruptions to the game — the use of enhancement drugs or “steroids.” It’s not surprising to see one of the preeminent players, Alex Rodriguez (A-Rod), to be one who has had several bouts with doping. His fear of both wanting to be the “best” and to recover quickly when in a slump or injured has led him down a path that will probably destroy his career. His arrogance has made him a lightening rod for unfavorable publicity for years. It is quite likely that he’s played his last few games over the upcoming weeks and will never achieve the Hall of Fame. His statistics are too suspect and marred by doping use. The funny thing? He had a “free pass” after the doping scandal some years back and was able to dodge the bullet of suspensions, etc. But, he simply could not resist doing it again. His fear of losing his competitive edge was simply too great.
But, for every A-Rod, there is a player who plays for the joy of the game. It’s all they want to do, such as Dustin Pedroia of the Boston Red Sox. He’s the poster boy for if you want something badly enough, are willing to give it everything you have, you will succeed. He always plays at 110%. Right now, part of the comeback of the Red Sox is in large part due to his enthusiasm and energy. Most of the team is sporting look-alike beards to his. Even the big black Dominican, David Ortiz has a finely clipped version.
You can find every aspect of the Overleaves, Negative vs Positive Poles, Chief Features, and totally engaged Young Soul behavior in baseball. You can watch highly competent players start careers straight out of high school, or “overnight successes” who are in their 30s and have bounced around in the minor leagues. It’s easier to see the positives, along with the negatives, of those in Young Soul Age when following a major league sport. This is important because it’s very easy to pick up a sneer and bigotry about “Oh, that’s Young Soul.” I like the vitality and energy of baseball and its players. They are some remarkable people in full Action center. And, I see enough evidence about some to know that they’ll finish their 4th IMs in Positive Poles, too.