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On The Errors of Enthusiasm

Entry of May 19th
On The Errors of Enthusiasm

One of Branch Rickey’s favorite quotations was from Anatole France: “I much prefer the errors of enthusiasm to the indifference of wisdom.” One of the early definitions of the word enthusiasm in the ancient Greek was “extravagant religious zealotry” and no doubt that origin pleased the passionate Christian side of Rickey. As a more secular though spiritual fellow myself, I also love enthusiasm and passion but errors are errors and I want to begin today with a couple of corrections from yesterday’s blog entry.

Brett Gardner, the Yankees’ fleet young outfielder who was nailed at home plate Sunday on Twins catcher Joe Mauer’s spectacular diving tag, was not undrafted but a 2005 third round choice out of the College of Charleston in South Carolina. With the injury to Xavier Nady, Gardner has had a chance to show off his talents that include occasional power and some clutch hitting. He did bruise his shoulder in the collision with Mauer but reportedly will only miss a few days of action. If you have not seen that play treat yourself. Several baseball scouts confirm what I said yesterday, Mauer’s reaction and tag was the best play they had ever seen made by a catcher. And I am sure seated in his perch alongside the baseball gods former catcher Branch Rickey was beaming.

I also erred yesterday when I said that the Yankees had a day off on Monday. I guess I was thinking of my Orioles who residing, probably permanently, in the AL East basement come in tonight for their first visit to the new Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees played last night, finishing off their four-game sweep of the Twins. For a change the Bronx Bombers didn’t need late-inning heroics but held on to a lead after scoring six runs in the first inning off Minnesota lefty Glen Perkins. After being knocked out in the barrage Perkins was immediately placed on the disabled list with an aching elbow. Some things never change, it seems. Thinking they are helping their team, too many athletic competitors won’t admit to pain until their ineffectiveness makes it brutally clear that something is wrong.

LOW ‘N’ FISH AND CHIPS: I was reared on the old Sporting News when it was purely a weekly baseball newspaper. The reports on each of the 16 teams in the two major leagues used to end with a little notes section with such puns as “Pitt Burgers” from the Pirate correspondent and “Bird Seed” from the Oriole writer. So here is the first entry of my own Notes section, “Low ‘N’ Fish and Chips.”

**Dismantling of the old Yankee Stadium is beginning. It is being chopped up in sections and sold to collectors. An early estimate projects that chunks of the outfield wall will go for $25,000!

**Fox TV Sports announced that World Series games will begin no later than 8p this October. Commissioner Bud Selig lobbied for Saturday afternoon games but was told that the ratings would be 30 per cent lower. At least we know who is calling the shots in October (not that we didn’t already) and at least the commish put in a plea for day baseball.

Coming tomorrow – Reflections on the 50th anniversary of Major League Baseball’s commitment to expand in some version.

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