Billy-Ball Daily: 2007-9-11

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“If Washington’s Manny is not Manager of the Year, Manny should at least win best supporting Acta” Larry Stone, Seattle Times

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Top of the 1st
Perhaps it’s because its gloomy today, or perhaps it’s because I watched so much of the coverage of the fools on the Hill yesterday, but I really think it’s simply because today’s date is September 11, but today I can’t help thinking about six years ago. I was in New York a couple of weeks ago and, as always, for a fleeting moment something we said or saw reminded me of the World Trade Center, but the memory quickly passed.

Not today. Today it weighs heavily as I think about all that transpired. I think about where I was and who I was talking to and what I was feeling and how really unsafe we all were, we all are. How insecure I felt, and feel, with those whose job it was, and is, to lead us through crisis.

But that is not for this column. This is neither the time nor the place because in a sense this morning is also one to celebrate – celebrate strength, courage, and fortitude and, the role that the Billy-Ball community, and all the other baseball fans, play in maintaining the foundation of this country.

Here were my feelings on September 11, 2002:

“There were more than one moment a year ago today that I wondered if baseball would be played again. It was not that baseball was on the forefront of my mind, but I was wondering if life would in any form or fashion return to “normal” and baseball was a part of that so-called life, that so-called normal.

This column is about baseball, nothing bigger than that. This is not the place for me to write how a year ago today I worried about my family’s health and future, how I worried the same about the country or how I still grieve for those who lost loved ones and how it still hurts terribly what they did to my home, “the greatest city in the world.” This is just about baseball.

And last year, after six days of heart wrenching pain and grieving, when it was time to heal, when it was time to move on, and when in one small way, one important way, we showed the world that we were back on our feet, it was through our national pastime. It was time to play baseball.

This was not the first time that baseball was symbolic of America’s endurance. Just weeks after Pearl Harbor, baseball’s commissioner Kenesaw M. Landis asked President Franklin Delano Roosevelt what to do, “If you believe we ought to close down for the duration of the war, we are ready to do so immediately. If you feel we ought to continue, we would be delighted to do so. We await your order.”

Within two days, President Roosevelt responded with his famous “Green Light Letter”:

“The White House

January 15, 1942

My dear Judge:

Thank you for yours of January fourteenth. As you will, of course, realize the final decision about the baseball season must rest with you and the Baseball club owners – so what I am going to say is solely a personal and not an official point of view.

I honestly feel that it would be best for the country to keep baseball going. There will be fewer people unemployed and everybody will work longer hours and harder than ever before.

And that means that they ought to have a chance for recreation and for taking their minds off their work even more than before.

Baseball provides a recreation which does not last over two hours or two hours and a half, and which can be got for very little cost. And, incidentally, I hope that night games can be extended because it gives an opportunity to the day shift to see a game occasionally.

As to the players themselves, I know you agree with me that the individual players who are active military or naval age should go, without question, into the services. Even if the actual quality to the teams is lowered by the greater use of older players, this will not dampen the popularity of the sport. Of course, if an individual has some particular aptitude in a trade or profession, he ought to serve the Government. That, however, is a matter which I know you can handle with complete justice.

Here is another way of looking at it – if 300 teams use 5,000 or 6,000 players, these players are a definite recreational asset to at least 20,000,000 of the fellow citizens – and that in my judgment is thoroughly worthwhile.
With every best wish,

Very sincerely yours,

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Hon. Kenesaw M. Landis
333 North Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois”

They played baseball that season and every season ever since.

They played baseball yesterday.

They will play again today.”

See you tomorrow.

Top of the 2nd
As we hurry to the end of the season, we rush to judgment:

* Dustin Pedroia batted third, Mike Lowell cleanup, and Julio Lugo was the designated hitter leading off in a Red Sox lineup minus David Ortiz and Manny Ram