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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 April 26, 2010 / 12 Iyar 5770

Recalled to Life

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | LITTLE ROCK — For a baseball fan, there's life and there's the off-season. Life returned to these parts at 7:10 p.m. on a fine Thursday evening in flowering April. That's when the opening pitch was thrown of the Arkansas Travelers' first home game of the season — against the Midland (Tex.) Rockhounds.

Let a painterly writer like John Updike write rapturously about that "lyric little bandbox of a ball park" up in Boston called Fenway in prose as high-priced as tickets to a Red Sox game. He never got to see the little jewel that is Dickey-Stephens Park in its perfect setting — alongside the Arkansas River, backlit by the skyline of a just-right-sized American city on the cusp between Upper and Lower South.

There is a special brightness to everything on the opening night of the season at a minor-league ballpark as the crowd begins to jell and the sense of anticipation slowly swells. It hits you as you pass through the gate and get your first glimpse of that green, green field of dreams. So familiar, yet so fresh and untouched. Everything shines: the signs in the outfield, the bright white baselines. The stars shine bright deep in the heart of ... the Texas League.

All is as it should be: It's spring, the stars and planets move to the music of the spheres, and the geometry of the game remains perfect. Home plate is a pentagon, the infield a diamond. Theoretically a batter could keep fouling off pitches without limit, and a tie game could go on forever, the innings continuing into infinity. Baseball is an Einsteinian phenomenon: Time and space merge. Here war, famine, pestilence, death and all that transient editorial grist have been left behind. You're in clockless baseball time now, floating free.

But outside the ballpark, time has taken its revenge. References to baseball as the national pastime are now made in the past tense, or ironically. The power and force of football, with its air of gladiatorial combat, have triumphed over the old-time grace of this most American game. Just as the old republic has given way to a mass democracy, a sense of place to globalization, and the dream of splendid isolation to the dictates of empire. It's a story as old as Rome.

Something of ineffable beauty and grace at the kernel of American life will be lost if this game is ever completely eclipsed. Reason will have fled to brutish beasts, most of them in the stands. The very intricacy of this most American game testifies to the Republic's continuing devotion, however strained, to law, ritual, tradition, a measured pace. It is a game made for conservatives.

I remember the last time I visited Richard S. Arnold, an Arkansas jurist who, along with Learned Hand, was surely the finest judge never to have served on the Supreme Court of the United States. He was confined to his hospital bed, a Prometheus bound by IV tubes. But if his body was taking its leave, Richard Arnold's ever-nimble mind, which age could not wither nor custom stale, was completely absorbed in ... watching a baseball game on television.

Letter from JWR publisher

"Do you like baseball?" he asked me. A rhetorical question if there ever was one. Whereupon he made sure I got a copy of a classic little essay out of a law review, "The Common Law Origins of the Infield Fly Rule." A nation so constitutionally attached to rules and their interpretation, even in its play, has not yet lost its genius for continuity.

Baseball may be fading as the national pastime, but for one glorious spring night, as you climb off the streetcar in North Little Rock, Ark., and set your mouth for the first beer and hot dog, life has returned and the years drop away. Some things are still the same, even better for still being there after all these years. There are still four bases in the infield, kids in the bleachers, and ham-handed infielders.

Oh, yes, the game itself. Between the Travs' Laurel-and-Hardy fielding and the Rockhounds' hitting, it was a rout: 11 to 1. But it simplifies matters greatly if you're the kind of fan who just roots for the team in the field. That way, local passions are kept at bay, and don't obscure the grace of the game. You can have your dramatic home runs; give me the classic, balletic double play.

But there'll be another game the next night. And sure enough, the Travs would come back to win it 3 to 0. Or as Earl Weaver, legendary manager of the Baltimore Orioles, once told a critic who wanted to know why baseball wasn't any faster: "This ain't a football game, we do this every day." That's the great consolation of a long season. If you don't do well one day, there's always tomorrow. In that respect, it's not unlike writing a newspaper column.

As with American history, there is something assuring about the continuity of the game. Every year the season begins as hopeful as an Appalachian spring, becomes as long as a Southern summer, and its end can be as poignant as a New England fall. So long as there's cricket, there'll always be an England. So long as there's baseball, there'll be an America.

G0d, I love this game!

G0d, I love this country.

Paul Greenberg Archives

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JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.

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