“Baseball. If there’s a more beautiful word in the English language, I
have yet to hear it… baseball has served as such a powerful link
between Dad and me, and later between me and my son.”
— Tim Russert (1950-2008)
Rare are the journalists who represent both the passions and worldviews of their audience to the extent that they stop at nothing to capture and highlight that fermented, weathered, collective voice. John Kass of the Chicago Tribune comes to mind… Bob Costas has his moments… and in a wayward, selfish context, I believe Tim Kurkjian fits that role by feeding my insatiable taste for quirky, useless baseball tidbits plucked down from the ether of madness. Still, in my opinion, when it comes to the elite of the elite, no one even came close to Tim Russert.
This weekend marks the anniversary of Tim’s death and while I still succumb to shock every time I turn on Meet the Press and realize he is no longer moderating the debate, I like to think that some of that knowledge, that swagger, that desire Tim portrayed all those years, lives on through me. Not to get overly emotional or anything, but I always felt some sort of transcending connection to Russert; I still feel it today.
Now I know why: Tim Russert was a baseball guy.
Just like me.
And though we shared similar political views and put great value on our relationships with our fathers, in the end, baseball was and always has been the glue — that thing, that commonality, that mutual bond. You cannot make up that kind of understanding, cannot create that kind of unity. It just happens.
Baseball. If there’s a more beautiful word in the English language, I have yet to hear it…
Baseball people get baseball people.
And Tim Russert was baseball people.
(Image courtesy of TIME)
Surprise, surprise. Tiger fan and irresponsible baseball blogger Allen Krause blasphemies the grand achievements of our national pastime by belittling the .400 batting average, I put him in his place by blasting him for it and he goes absolutely silent — no rebuttal, no defense, no comment.
Welcome to Red State Blue State — where US Americans come to read about baseball and politics while watching me debate an imaginary friend. Mr. Krause, if you’re out there, holla.
I suppose this is fundamental of any dispute: one person (me) is right and the other (Al) is wrong and the wrong one tends to get lost among the exactitude of the right. RSBS is not immune to this. There is no gray, middle ground — not here. Sure, I am aware that my loud anecdotal quips of baseball-politico wisdom may just be too intimidating for my opponent to handle, but there’s a time when one has to go to bat and that time is now, Al.
As a strong believer in the imminent change of hope politics on the horizon of this great nation, I too hope that some day Allen and I can come together, despite our differences, for the good of RSBS, for the good of baseball, for the good of the people… much like these pairings:
Obama/McCain Side By Side at Tim Russert Memorial
Tim Russert was a paragon of intestinal fortitude — a man I strive to emulate — and as he was remembered today, I couldn’t help but think about his great big smile (wherever he is) watching these two candidates side by side honoring his memory, his guts, his vigor. As an American, that image stuck out to me — made me proud.
So long, Tim.
Mark & Sammy
It may seem like a stretch, but it’s not: McCain/Obama, Repulicans/Democrats, Cubs/Cardinals. Generally speaking, they strongly dislike one another. McCain and Obama at the memorial today reminded me of that magical summer of 1998, when natural enemies Mark McGwire (a Cardinal) and Sammy Sosa (a Cub) came together and put on a magnificent display of power, destroying the single season homerun record in a derby-like fashion that captivated the entire nation.
Of course, now we know they were cheating, which kind of kills the ‘magical’ part, but cheating or not, they were side by side, laughing, fist pumping, scratching their balls.
So far this year, Cubs fans are asking themselves: “How are we this good?”
At least we can agree on something…
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Your book touched my life, my father’s life, reminded me how much my dad means to me.
You were passionate about journalism — respected, admired, cheered.
You were passionate about politics — working for the little guy, like me. I always knew you were on my side; you always fought my fights.
You were passionate about baseball — Yankees, Nationals, Hall of Fame, the grand game.
Sundays will never be the same.
And I’m sure gonna miss you, Tim.
Rest in peace,