The Reuters global sports blog
By Mike Theiler
I’m a baseball nut. I live and breathe baseball. I dislike football. I dislike basketball. I dislike soccer. A real baseball fan only loves baseball in my opinion.
I believe baseball is a metaphor for life.
It is life and death. It is also re-birth with spring training. It is marriage and divorce as players are joined together and then are either traded, discarded or fail.
Major League Baseball is, of course, the very pinnacle of the game. The best hitters, the best pitchers, the unrivaled history; The Babe, DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak, Ted Williams’ .406 season, Nolan Ryan’s seven no-hitters.
But while MLB has all that and so much more, my real, true enjoyment of the game starts with the minor leagues. “The bushes”, and the struggle of the players to advance up to “The Bigs”. The crackerbox ballyards. The intimacy with players not yet full of themselves. Free parking. Cheap beer. The whacky between-innings carnival of gags.
Twenty years ago this week, Pete Rose received the harshest of all of baseball’s penalties: a lifetime ban for betting on games while managing the Cincinnati Reds, the team that brought him fame as a player and infamy as a manager.