07 October 2006

Requiem for Buck O'Neil

I don't think I've ever used a blog to opine about baseball or baseball players before, but I feel obliged to now. I imagine that a) there aren't too many people out there reading this blog just yet, and b) most of you aren't big enough baseball nuts to know who Buck O'Neil was, let alone that he died yesterday. I won't bore people with his biography, but his life's story does make interesting reading if you have the time. Suffice it to say, he embodied everything that I like about the game, and nothing that I don't. In fact, I always thought of him as living proof that, at its best, baseball can be uplifting in a much more profound way than most other American institutions. Above all else, he saw baseball not as a showcase for overpaid, steroid-abusing primadonnas, but as something that could be a common ground for people from all walks of life. I saw him at a Mariners game once, where he had been invited to throw out the first pitch, and it was clear even from that one little glimpse that he relished and enjoyed every moment of his life in baseball. Now more than ever, baseball - and, to be fair, sports in general - could use more people like Buck O'Neil.
On a less serious, but still baseball-related, note, I was happy to see that the playoff team with the lowest payroll (the Oakland Athletics) advanced to the next round, and that the team with far and away the highest payroll in the game (the New York Yankees) flopped embarrassingly. For the sake of baseball fans everywhere, let's hope this trend continues.

No comments: