Saturday, April 4, 2015

Baseball - and the Allure of Defeat

A few years ago, I posted the epic poem "Casey at the Bat", which is about the losing team in Muddville, and the struggle that Casey waged that day while trying to win the game. I have had many comments about that piece. It is an iconic piece of Americana. It speaks to our love of the underdog, which dates back to our nation's founding. We were the underdogs!

The following was received as noted, and it posed an interesting question, causing me to ponder on the subject of just why we love the underdog. Here is this well written and insightful e-mail, followed by my view on the subject.  I love when I get these types of e-mails, allowing me to interact with the reader. After all, that's what it's all about...

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New comment on "Casey at the Bat" by Ernest Lawrence Thayer.

Thursday, June 2, 2011 12:07 PM

From: This sender is DomainKeys verified"Fegan's Pocket"

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Fegan's Pocket has left a new comment on your post ""Casey at the Bat" by Ernest Lawrence Thayer":

“Living in Massachusetts near Boston I can relate to the downfall of the hero of this poem. The Red Sox had 48 years of "Mudville". It seems that everyone who knows and loves baseball knows "Casey..." Is there an epic poem about winning baseball? I can't think of one at the moment. Which begs the case; Why do we hold this poem so dear? Why do Red Sox and Cubs fans remain fans? Is it Aristotelian? Aristotle described the plot of Greek Tragedies as a hero with a minor flaw who is destroyed because of it. Are baseball fans fond of the pathos of defeat rather than the elation of triumph? This could explain why "Casey" and the Red Sox and the Cubs still have such devoted fans. “

Now, my own take on this subject is that baseball is the workingman's game. And the workingman is usually the underdog in the game of life. The image of the blue collar guy rooting for his favorite team is ingrained in our collective psyches. The Brooklyn Dodgers are a perfect example. Even when they won the pennant they were still lovingly referred to as "the Bums."

Life is just like baseball, the bases are always loaded and the count is often 3/2. The next pitch could change everything. Here's Jackie Robinson stealing base in the 1955 World Series;

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