UNTOUCHED IS MY HEART

Some things really bother me. For instance the commercials for a product making great claims against difficult illnesses that end with, “This drug has not been approved by the FDA for…” You can pretty well fill in the blank with the word “anything.”

Then there are those things that touch me. People whose loved ones enter a hospital as if it were Dante’s Inferno with a sign that says,”Beware all hope ye who enter here.” They leave their loved ones at the door knowing that if if they have Covid 19 they may never see them again. Awful.

Funerals where only 10 mourners, if that, can attend. Breaks my heart.

Young people with that all-pervasive sense of immorality who are finding their foolishness over this virus may not kill them, but may leave them with permanent physical damage as well as the life-long mental damage that their exposure may have killed their parents or grandparents. Beyond sad.

Then there are those things that both make me angry and sad. That’s what’s comin’ up. A sports writer bled out on the page that baseball players, particularly hitters are going to lose a prime year of their career due to the truncated, fan-less season they are facing. And that’s if there is a season at all. As soon as groups of players on different teams get sick, and they will, who will be left to play the field? The coaches?

In the biting and sardonic play Caberet, the lead and key song is, “Money Makes the World Go Round.” Truth. It seems among all the professional sports, the ugliest battle over playing has been in baseball. While it should all be about health and safety, it isn’t. It’s about money. While both the players union and the owners talk the talk about health, they are walking the walk about money. It is the shallowest, ugliest argument to be had now.

Frankly, I’m more with the players than the owners because the owners have television contracts to cover some expenses. Also most owners can be owners until they keel over in their owner’s boxes. Players can’t. They play until the erosion of their skills becomes obvious enough for their salaries to decrease and their being traded increases. But for players to make this about money. That is outrageous.

The average American could live long and comfortably on what most rookie ball players make, especially those with signing bonuses. The average small country can live on what the big stars make. Well not really, but you get the point. So the bleeding heart reporter tells us that the height of a hitter’s skills began to peak at 24-26 years of age. and for most last 4-5 years. And? Where is the cue card that says, “Cry?”

One hundred and twenty-one thousand Americans have died in a matter of months. They haven’t lost a year; they have lost their lives, their loves, the wonder of opening their eyes and seeing green trees, hearing birds sing, and having children run into their arms. They don’t have extended contracts that go on after their skills have eroded. In fact, Americans without pensions, who have worked their entire lives as the nuts, bolts, glue, and rubber bands that have held this country together will barely be able to survive on social security. They worked hard and with pride. Does American mourn them? Or except at campaign time even mention them?

There is no question that the personal and financial generosity of some ballplayers makes them eligible for the St. Teresa award. But instead of their union and the owner’s quibbling over money, and time lost in a career (and I would remind you of someone selfless like Ted Williams who left baseball as his peak and risked his life as a fighter pilot), another discussion should be had. Shouldn’t baseball and its players, joined by all the major league sports whose piles of foundation money make Uncle Scrooge McDuck’s money room seem barren, be figuring out how to give enough money to assure that we get a vaccine and that people, poor and rich, near and far, can get it for free? Shouldn’t they be investing in the future of America, in the future of their fans, in the future of their ballplayers? Yes they should–at least from my perspective.

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There are no pictures with this article nor plugs for my book. I do not want you to be distracted from the message.

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