A better writer than I once wrote that baseball is the story of fathers and sons. It isn’t a difficult assertion to believe, especially if you’re one of the fathers or sons. The ballpark, the leather, the smell of the dirt, the grass, the time together: baseball is, and has been, a generational bridge in America. It has, as Terence Mann says in Field of Dreams, marked the time. And in the early 2000s, it was lost.
Baseball has always, to an extent no other American sport is, been quantifiable. .406. 56. 714. 61. These numbers are evocative in a way no other numbers in sports were or likely will ever be. By the late 1990s, baseball had a problem: Steroids. The 1998 home run race between McGuire and Sosa had reenergized the game, but at a cost. By spring training 2001 the rumors weren’t really rumors anymore. Fans who had perhaps given their titans a pass knew it was all a facade. The game they loved was infected. Baseball required an antidote.
In a way the antidote arrived on April 2, 2001. That was the day Ichiro Suzuki made his Major League Baseball debut with the Seattle Mariners. He was already a legend in Japan, and the rumors of his abilities and past numbers were the stuff of legend. But baseball, for all its egalitarianism, can be insular. Ichiro was a breath of fresh air. Here was a player who wasn’t just a second rate grab by a West Coast team, but was an actual star. He landed with expectations.
And he met them all. He was the reincarnation of that ghost our grandfathers spoke of in hushed tones. The speed. The arm. The glove. The bat, to all fields, in all situations. He was Joe Jackson reincarnate in the body of a Japanese man at the turn of the 21st century. And the legend grew. Those old pros once known as “baseball men” still whisper to each other about Ichiro taking BP: “I saw him hit one over the fountains in KC one day in batting practice. That guy could average 35 home runs per year if he really wanted to.” Probably ridiculous old guy talk. Probably.
Ichiro was 27 when he debuted with the Mariners. As of this writing he is still playing, in Miami, sitting at 2998 hits in MLB. His career numbers sit at .314 114 742, with 350 doubles, 92 triples, with 507 stolen bases (in which he leads all active players). He is a 10-time All-Star, a 10-time Gold Glove recipient, and a first ballot Hall of Famer. Those numbers will only matter to some in the long run. But they’ll be recorded. And remembered. And one day in the future when my nephews or sons ask me about who was great back when, I might just show them this. And only the baseball men will understand.
Trump is not going to be on my conscience. I'm not voting Trump and taking the responsibility of explaining away his idiocy. I didn't want to end up here. I didn't prop up Trump. I never validated his candidacy. I never said he was a conservative or said he was a viable option. I knew as soon as he announced he was a problem. Now if people are softening on Trump in the face of Hillary, that's their business, but I'm not cleaning up after a mentally deficient man-child who is the equivalent of Joe Biden on crack-cocaine. I don't give in to strong arm tactics and bullying. I don't vote for someone because he says “I have no choice.” If Trump wanted my vote he should have earned it, but Trump doesn't know how to earn. He only knows how to swindle and threaten.
I’m not letting him dictate my actions. I'm not letting him win, I'm not submitting to his authoritarian garbage. I'm not letting him throw SCOTUS in my face when he says he doesn't care if he loses the Republican majority and wages war against the most conservative Senator in Congress.
I know we have to play the hand we are dealt. OK. I fold. I am washing my hands of this virus of an election. I'll vote in conservatives where I can, but I'm not being poisoned by my own party by a forced vote for Trump. I did my part, I offered and voted for my choice. I suggested a conservative, and they insisted on psychopathy. Am I taking my ball and going home? Yep. Am I a sore loser? You're damn right. Am I traitor to the Republican Party? I hope so. Count me among the same traitors that founded this country. “It's your fault if Hillary wins.” Fine. I'll take all of it. Blame it all on me, I don't care.
I watched the DNC this past week and saw them hijack conservative values the Republicans were supposed to stand for. Trump didn't want them, so the Republican Party abandoned them. I’m not rewarding them for that. I'm not voting for Trump and solidifying and validating a loss of core principles. We should be embarrassed this happened. We deserve to lose.
Just a gaggle of people from all over who have similar interests and loud opinions mixed with a dose of humor. We met on Twitter.