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John Thorn quotes

As the game enters its glorious final weeks, the chill of fall signals the reality of defeat for all but one team. The fields of play will turn brown and harden, the snow will fall, but in the heart of the fan sprouts a sprig of green.

For many in baseball September is a month of stark contrast with April, when everyone had dared to hope. If baseball is a lot like life, as pundits declare, it is because life is more about losing than winning.

But baseball bounced back in the next decade to reclaim its place as the national pastime: new heroes, spirited competition, and booming prosperity gave birth to dreams of expansion, both within the major leagues and around the world.

Baseball presents a living heritage, a game poised between the powerful undertow of seasons past and the hope of next day, next week, next year.

Donning a glove for a backyard toss, or watching a ball game, or just reflecting upon our baseball days, we are players again, forever young.

If I haven't made myself clear, this worrisome chain of events describes the game of the nineteenth century.

The heroes of our youth grow old - 'the boys of summer in their ruin,' in Dylan Thomas's verse - yet we seem the same.

The National League was born the following year, as an attempt to exert the control of capital over labor.

There was much woe and lamentation in the seventies that the game was dying.

This illuminates not only fans' interest in major league teams but also the minors and even Little League.

Better than anything else in our culture, it enables fathers and sons to speak on a level playing field while building up from within a personal history of shared experience - a group history - that may be tapped into at will in years to come.

But the dream is never forgotten, only put aside and never out of reach: Where once the dream connected boys with the world of men, now it reconnects men with the spirit of boys.

I think that much of this was running in background as I contemplated whether or not to attend the PS 99 reunion, although I certainly anticipated that I would not; it smelled like death, not youth.

We are fans because the game also appeals to our local pride, our pleasure in thinking of ourselves as, yes, Americans but nonetheless different from residents of other towns, other states, other regions.

Why we play as children is not because it is our work or because it is how we learn, though both statements are true; we play because we are wired for joy, it is imperative as human beings.

Yes, we've seen it all before. And yes, those who do not study history are condemned to repeat it. But no, the sky is not falling - baseball is such a great game that neither the owners nor the players can kill it. After some necessary carnage, market forces will prevail.

My egotistical concern was less that I would fail to relate to my classmates than that they would know nothing of my uniquely tortured life's course and, thus, me.

Pursuing employment or climatic relief, we live in voluntary exile from our extended families and our longer past, but in an involuntary exile from ourselves and our own past.

Whatever else I do before finally I go to my grave, I hope it will not be looking after young people.

Distant replay morphs into instant replay, and future replay cannot be far off.