For when the One Great Scorer comes to write against your name—
He marks—not that you won or lost—but how you played the game.
— Grantland Rice, “Alumunus Football”
When the Los Angeles Angels owner Gene Autry heard this quote, he commented, “Well, Grantland Rice can go to hell as far as I’m concerned.”
I’m with you, cowboy.
WINS ARE THE ONLY THING THAT COUNT.
And all you sabermetrician journalistas, I agree with what I understand of what you propound and suspect the rest of your sermon is gospel; but …
Baseball is a team game. The object of the game is to win. Teams win, not individuals. Star players are wonderful, but look at this year’s Washington Nationals. Then look at the Mets. Then look at their respective win totals.
Ralph Kiner understood. He told this story: “After the season in which I hit 37 home runs, I asked Pittsburgh Pirate general manager Branch Rickey for a raise. He refused. “I led the league in homers,” I reminded him. “Where did we finish?” Rickey asked me. “Last,” I replied. “Well,” Rickey said, “We can finish last without you.”
Red Sanders agreed. In 1950, at a Cal Poly San Luis Obispo physical education workshop, Sanders told his group: “Men, I’ll be honest. Winning isn’t everything,” then following a long pause, “Men, it’s the only thing!”
“This is a simple game. You throw the ball, you hit the ball, you catch the ball. You GOT IT?!” — Joe “Skip” Riggins
This year the Mets threw the ball better than the more ballyhooed Nationals and one whole heck of a lot better than our retooling Braves. The game is not played in press clippings. It’s played on the field. Which reminds me: the Mets played the Braves today.
Ryan Weber got his second start for Atlanta today. His first time out, he threw the ball well. His team fielded adequately but hit the ball not at all.
Today Weber pitched well, and the Braves hit well. We caught the ball better than the Mets as well, so how did we lose?
The fault lies not in our stars but in our bullpen.
The Mets were down to their last strike of their last out when Juan Legares hit a flyball double that just missed being a spectacular game-ending diving catch by Cameron Maybin. Ryan Kelly relieved Peter Moylan, who’d pitched well. Kelly walked Curtis Granderson. All Braves relievers walk Granderson. It’s the law. Then Daniel Murphy homered to tie the game.
The Braves rolled over in the bottom of the ninth, played dead; and the Mets killed them in the tenth.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis walked. Reuben Tejada singled. Kevin Plawecki drove in a run on a fielder’s choice and reached safely himself when Hectoe Olivera’s only chance throw pulled Daniel Castro off second base. Juan Legares walked to load the bases. Granderson walked. Again. This time with the bases loaded to garner an RBI. Danny Burawa relieved and promptly walked Daniel Murphy on four pitches to plate the final run before finally ending the torture by inducing a Lucas Duda groundout.
How did we ever win 56?
“If you build it, they will come.”
Build us a team, Johns; and we will come. Build us not a white flight field but a team of dreams. Give us a reason to believe. As M.C. Escher said, “Only those who attempt the absurd will achieve the impossible.” Just do it.
“God, I love baseball.”
Me too, Roy. Me too. I wish the Braves played baseball.
“Wait ’til next year!”
Go Braves. Nor oif simhas.