MLB posted a graphic on their social media recently listing game times for Opening Day, which serves as a lovely reminder that pitchers and catchers report in about two weeks, and we are less than two months away from baseball’s official return.
The philosophies of Stoicism and Zen Buddhism have piqued my interest lately, so when I discovered that Shawn Green had a book about his experiences with Zen while playing baseball, I had to check it out. The Way of Baseball: Finding Stillness At 95 MPH is a hell of a catchy title, and in this short tome, Green talks about his experiences with finding Zen and stillness throughout his major league career.
Green mentions that he had had some previous interest in Eastern philosophies, but it was during his struggles at the plate early in his career in Toronto that he discovered how it could be applied in baseball. Green talks about hitting off the tee, repeatedly over weeks and weeks until it became a form of meditation. Hence forth, tee hitting became a staple in Green’s career.
When Green made the move from Toronto to the bigger stage in Los Angeles, he lost his hold on the stillness he had found with the Blue Jays. With a big contract and big expectations, Green found himself ruled by ego, pressuring himself to hit home runs, rather than just letting them happen. Consequently, his first year in LA turned out to be a disastrous season, and Green talks about the work it took to let go of the ego and return to stillness.
It’s a fascinating book, overall. If you’re familiar with the fundamentals of Zen, you won’t learn anything new about the philosophy in this book. It is interesting, however, to see those ideas applied to baseball. The book is short and a fairly easy read, too. If this kind of thing interests you, this one’s worth reading.
When McGwire started the home run mania, attendance came back. The owners understood that the sudden spike in homers wasn’t accidental. All baseball knew it. But baseball is run on money, and home runs meant money. Baseball turned a blind eye.
As one last hurrah to 2022, I signed up to take a behind-the-scenes tour of Kauffman Stadium today. The weather was about as good as one could hope for on December 31st, but it was still pretty chilly, and I was glad I bundled up for this experience. My tour guide was an older gentleman named Michael, whose daughter also works for the Royals. According to Michael, one month after he retired, his daughter insisted that he needed something to do and helped him get set up giving tours of Kauffman during the off season and working in the Royals Hall of Fame during the season. He’s been working in this capacity for the last eight years, and he certainly knew his stuff.
This post is going to be predominantly pictures, but I’ll try to include explanatory captions where appropriate.
Forty-year-old Roger Clemens agreed to a $10.1 million, one-year deal with the Yankees on December 30, 2002. At the time, Clemens indicated that 2003 would be his final year in baseball, and the end of the 2003 season became a series of public farewells met with appreciative cheering. Clemens would come out of retirement almost as quickly as he went into it, however, signing with the Houston Astros in early 2004.