Monday, March 31, 2014

Three Strikes You’re Out! By Linda S. Glaz

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?

Go Tigers!
Smell those peanuts?


Karlene Jacobsen said...

Nice work, Linda. There's not an overabundance of "Kalines" out there any more. I hope to find myself among them, one day.

Linda Glaz said...

I agree, Karlene. While there were a few back then, he was still the one who stood out in honor. He really embodied what the game was all about.

Linda Glaz said...

Or should I say, what the game was supposed to be. I guess we get the whole honor issue from our forefathers in England where in futbol, they still expect
'gentlemanly conduct', for the most part, but at least there's an attempt for sports to have a sense of honor and respect between the teams.

Tom Threadgill said...

I don't watch baseball, unless you count Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own. There's no crying in baseball!

But the sun is finally shining here too! So ready for nice weather.

Linda Glaz said...

"You're gonna looooo-ooose. You're gonna looooo-ooooose!" Love that movie! Love when the kid gets pegged in the head!

Rick Barry said...

You've brought back memories of the old Tiger Stadium, Linda. Not to mention names like Aurelio Rodriquez and Mark Fidrych ("the Bird"). I think of Al Kaline every time I see "Alkaline batteries" on a package. ;)

Yes, pro ball is hard work, and so is writing. But even if you strike out today, there is always tomorrow to take another swing.

Linda Glaz said...

Amen, Rick. There's always tomorrow!

David B. Smith said...

I wish I could be supportive, Linda, but the Tigers are coming out here to play the Dodgers all this week. Our prayers will be canceling each other out. An otherwise RBI-laden post!

Linda Glaz said...

David, I'll do my best to be empathetic as I cheer for the Tigers! :)