A daily accumulation of history and present as I follow the 2011 year through the baseball season and reflect on the glories and disappointments of the greatest game on Earth.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Hideki Matsui

In a meaningless spring training game on Saturday, Chipper Jones, a sort of star, hit his first home run of what will probably be his last year.
This morning, a second quake rocked Japan. This one wasn't as strong as the 8.9 magnitude first one that struck on Friday and sent tsunami waves to the West Coast of America, literally ruining one entire California harbor. In the turmoil of the 4th worst earthquake in the last 150 years, a second Hydrogen explosion at a nuclear reactor leaves the world north of Tokyo in a state that could be hellaciously dangerous in a very short time - if that time isn't now.
At times like this, sports don't matter. What matters is what people do to rise up for their fellow men and women.
In this, former Japanese baseball great Hideki Matsui, who now plays for the Oakland A's (after a stint with the Angels and a stint with the Yankees) is stepping up with his team as they offer to do a fund raiser for the victims of the earthquake when they face the Seattle Mariners who feature the greatest Japanese player in history this side of Sadahura Oh. Yes, Ichiro vs. Godzilla will be a game that means something for the world instead of American League West also rans, and isn't that what baseball is supposed to be about?
We are bringing good things to people and entertaining society to make us forget about our woes in times of trouble. Whether that's Albert cracking home runs for Down's syndrome or pink bats for breast cancer or George Bush taking Derek Jeter's advice to throw a strike as the players all wear FDNY and NYPD hats after 911. We've always been there when society calls to us, and that's the way it should be.
So we'll get the perfection of singles and speed with Ichiro, a player that had it drilled into him from a very young age that to be the best, one had to give all. We see this with rescue workers who use chainsaws and pick axes to reach bodies of survivors and the dead.
We'll get a class act who apologized to his boss for getting injured after playing in 1,000 games straight. And the life philosophy of Matsui is what the Japanese will do as they rebuild their country all over again. Just like in the devastation of World War 2, their world will come back together and will be stronger and a force for the world as a whole.
And through it all, we will come together and we'll get back to baseball being the good things in life - not the bad things in life bringing us together to look after our fellow man, which when you think about it really is the best thing in life.

No comments:

Post a Comment