Season opener in Detroit today, and it looks like the weatherman is going to put his blessing on it. The sun’s shining, it’s warm…well…warmer than it’s been for a while in SE Michigan, and I can almost smell the dogs grilling…the mustard ready to tingle my nose. Phones are ringing in every business as folks are calling in sick so they can attend. Detroit takes its baseball very serious, folks, always has.
I remember my scrapbook as a ten-year old. Must have been at least two inches thick, filled with the stats and newspaper articles on Stormin’ Norman Cash and Al Kaline, two of my favorites (I was SUCH a tomboy). I could quote the stats of each member of the team. Could tell you how Kaline reached beyond himself for an impossible catch that broke his collarbone, but won the pennant for us in 1962. He wasn’t thinking of how much he might be hurt; he was thinking of the game, the team, the win.
In 1970, Kaline turned down a raise with the Tigers. Turned down a raise? That’s right. After 17 years with Detroit, “Mr. Tiger” said his batting average was lower than usual and he didn’t feel he deserved it. His entire career, 22 years, was with Detroit, and he brought much more than merely great baseball. He taught us ethics outside the classroom. And, I might add, without steroids. But that’s a whole ‘nuther post.
How many of us can say that we have that kind of honor? As writers we want the big advances, big contracts, big publishers. But so often, as with plenty of athletes, I would assume, we don’t want to do the work. We want the easy life, the way to make a boatload of money without reaching beyond our ability. But as Kaline showed us, there is no victory without hard work.
Yes, the Tigers open today, and I’ll have a bunch of submissions in my inbox anxious for me to give the authors the stamp of approval. Will I find any Kalines in there? Or will the authors not have done their homework and strike out?
Smell those peanuts?