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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 30, 2011 / 24 Adar II, 5771

Ahead of the Game

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | LITTLE ROCK -- It is a truth universally acknowledged among baseball fans: There is life and there is the off-season.

The off-season now thrashes to an end in the throes of March Madness, which features proto-professional athletes running around in baggy shorts under hoops while everybody else in the country dives into betting pools. They don't call it madness for nothing.

But the fit will soon be past, and even now life returns like health after a long sickness. Its first sprouts -- verdant, clear, promising -- can be found in the friendly confines of your nearest minor-league ballpark.

Hope is in the air. It's palpable. The feeling is still hard to believe this early in the year, but all the more welcome for that. The headiness of it. Yet it's as clear as a box score. The endless summer to come is only a theory in late March, but day by day it becomes sharper, mixing memory and hope. Like a familiar appetizer being served as the main course is prepared.

It's an old rule: Never rush pleasures. Or combine them. But some just go together, like spring and baseball. They make an irresistible combination on an evening in late March. And the baseball Razorbacks from the University of Arkansas are playing Memphis State at beautiful little Dickey-Stephens stadium just across the rolling river from the newspaper, only minutes away. I've got to go. The temptation is irresistible.

The first sight of the ballpark is the same every year. There is the sharp intake of breath at the little expanse of green against the urban background, like a diamond in its setting. Few things enhance the looks of downtown Little Rock like viewing it from across the river. Its snaggle-toothed skyline stands out like an Edward Hopper painting materialized. Too uneven to be anything but true.

Let a John Updike write rapturously about that "lyric little bandbox of a ball park" up in Boston called Fenway. That's how he described it in one of his star turns in the New Yorker ("Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu") back in the apogee of baseball writing, when Red Smith was still around, like a Homer racing a deadline.

But this minor-league ballpark in the middle of Arkansas has something no major-league stadium can offer: It's ours. Or as Chesterton once wrote of an English mill town, we love it not because it's the best, but because it is ours.

College baseball is to the pros as a senior prom is to Baryshnikov, yet it's still the same game. There are still glimpses of the same balletic moves when a shortstop makes an impossible catch, or almost does. And one quality colors every play, whether or not anything happens: expectation.

Anyone who says baseball is a slow game isn't watching it with a proper appreciation of the possibilities at every moment, of what can happen with every pitch. And between them. Just as it is the silences before the words that make great dialogue.

Inning after inning, what might happen becomes what didn't. A run here, a great catch there, bobbles everywhere. And then, with the score 2 to 2 in the bottom of the eighth ... Arkansas' bats come to life. By the end of the home team's five-run eighth, it's 7 to 2, the final score. Expectations are more than fulfilled.

And yet something is missing. The stands are full, a sea of red-and-white, the Razorback colors, but it all seems a tamer version of the real game, as college baseball will. It is all -- how should I put it? -- too wholesome.

The clean-cut young players are still at the outset of their careers and life. There is none of that Texas League mix of weathered old-timers on the way down and promising young rookies on their way up, mixed with players who will always be minor-league.

It is in the minor leagues where the spirit of baseball still lives, not fresh but gritty. But tonight all is washed clean as the fresh uniforms. The creases are yet unformed on the young faces, the malice of time still to come.

The white-bread families in the stands are an advertisement for the good life. The grandma a seat over reaches across the squirming little boy between us and brushes the popcorn crumbs off his seat, keeping things as neat as in her living room. At some point Edward Hopper has given way to Norman Rockwell.

The well-behaved crowd erupts in cheers in the eighth, Arkansas's big inning, but it's the kind of cheering you might hear at a college graduation. Loud but appropriate. All is niceness, and I'm not sure I can stand it.

The little stadium is a well-designed, G-rated, deliberate re-creation of an early 20th Century ballpark. In tonight's crowd, there is a paucity of the hard-faced women and beefy men in unfortunate shorts you might see at a poorly attended minor-league game in the middle of a lackluster season.

It's enough to make you wonder what's happened to the American character, and whether it's still capable of a little saving decadence. All I ask is just a touch of the sordid. But the Arkansas Travelers of the Texas League play their first home game here Thursday, April 14th, starting at 7:10, and we live in hope.

Paul Greenberg Archives

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