Platonic Baseball

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has been full of opinions and anxious to spew them forth into the ether of the interwebs. Sadly, this week has not been condusive to doing such. It is hard to explain just how strangely this week has in fact progressed. Very strange indeed.

Thanks to Robbo your Maximum Leader found this wonderful article by David Hart at First Things: A Perfect Game. Hart is a little over the top in some of his platonic analysis of baseball, but all in all he does capture some inchoate feelings your Maximum Leader has felt towards baseball for some time now. Robbo quoted a portion of the article near the beginning. But this one struck your Maximum Leader:

Now, of course, when I speak of baseball‚Äôs ‚Äúidealism,‚ÄĚ it is principally Platonism I have in mind: Greek rather than German idealism. But I have to admit that, as I have just described it, much of the game seems to speak not only of the finite‚Äôs power to reflect the infinite but also of a kind of fated, heroic human striving against the infinite. There are few spectacles in sport as splendid and pitiable as the batter defiantly poised before all that endless openness. We know that even the most majestic home run is as nothing in its vastness, that even the greatest hitter is a kind of Sisyphus, proudly indifferent to the divine mockery of that infinite horizon; and it is precisely this pathos that lends such moving splendor to those rare Homeric feats that linger on in our collective memory: Babe Ruth in Detroit in 1926, Frank Howard in Philadelphia in 1958, Mickey Mantle in New York in 1963, Frank Robinson in Baltimore in 1966 …

Good stuff… (NB: Although your Maximum Leader will admit that the Homeric feat of Frank Howard in 1958 is lost on his collective memory. Your Maximum Leader seems to recall that Frank Howard (of the Washington Senators) had a great home run streak in 1968 (when Hondo hit something like 13 home runs in 20 at bats). Perhaps there is some other Frank Howard tale from 1958 with which your Maximum Leader is not familiar.)

Of course this essay by Mr Hart is made more wonderful by the fact that the Washington Nationals were able to pull out a win against the Red Stockings of Cincinnati this afternoon…

Carry on.

2 Comments »
George Pal said:

Oh lord, oh lord, oh lord. Think if George Will and Mr. Hart got together and collated their rhapsodic thoughts on baseball ‚Äď we would have the ‚Äėtheory of everything‚Äô and God‚Äôs own divine desires known to us at last.

To Messrs. Will and Hart:
Go to a game, have a couple hot dogs and beers, holler a few soft expletives at the opponents and umpires and loosen up. Jeez, imagine what these guys could do for sex.



Oh George, thanks for this comment. How right you are! Having just finished a re-read of “Men at Work” and the Hart article I’m all for putting them together and seeing if we can come up with a grand unified theory illustrated by means of baseball.



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