Tuesday, October 30, 2012
I think it was the late Herb Caen who first called baseball's annual October rites by this name.The top teams in the two "Major Leagues" engage in a 'best-of-seven contest to find the "World Champions"..The two leagues have slightly different rules, because the American League allows a "designated hitter" to bat in place of the pitcher, who can return to stay in the game. I'm not going to take sides on this issue here: interested people can prefer the classic game, or the possibility of more 'hits' and maybe higher scores. No, I and many others, especially fellow immigrants, have long chafed at what is seen in other countries as an egregious example of American arrogance. How dare they call it the "World Series", when no other nation is allowed to compete? Excellent baseball may be encountered in Japan and Cuba, among other countries. Some of the finest players come from other nations, and are eagerly sought out to play for American teams. The names of players from Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, and other nations tells its own story: Rodriguez, Sanchez, Scutaro, Cabrero, Marichal, Hernandez, and other Hispanic names. I'm old enough to remember when black athletes weren't allowed to play in the all-white leagues. They played excellent games in the Negro Leagues. I'm glad to have been able to watch Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Sammy Sosa, and many other outstanding players born with a black skin. I don't expect to see an open international competition in my lifetime. More feasible would be a contest pitting the best players from their native countries against teams representing other lands, whether or not the players were also performing for American teams. I just don't see the owners of Major League teams allowing their hired hands to participate in such a contest. Late note: the San Francisco Giants "swept" the Detroit Tigers by 4--0. Huzzah!