The World Baseball Classic is being aired today: Dominican Republic vs. Venezuela on ESPN at 1 pm, EST, Mexico vs. the US on ESPN2 at 4 pm EST. I was really excited about the concept of a real “world” series, and hope to catch part of this.
Seventeen people, including 12 players and 5 executives, were selected to the Baseball Hall of Fame from the Negro Leagues. One of them is Effie Manley, the first woman in the Hall. I’ve actually owned her biography, “Effie Manley and the Newark Bears” by James Overmyer since 1993, according to the inscription from a friend of mine, though I’ve only now begun to read it. Interestingly, Overmyer was on the panel that selected Manley. 12 players were selected, but they didn’t select Buck O’Neil? He’s been a tireless ambassador for the league, and is still alive to enjoy being in the Hall, unlike the ones who were chosen.
Popular former baseball player Kirby Puckett died yesterday. He played his whole major league career with my father-in-law’s favorite team, the Minnesota Twins. He had some difficulties after his career was over, but remained a well-beloved player because of his great attitude, despite the glaucoma that shortened his career. On a totally selfish note, I hate it when people younger than I die, especially from something like a stroke.
In case you just tuned in, today’s my birthday. Born in ’53, turning 53.
In our local Hearst paper, they always run this poem in August on the anniversary of the death of some founder. I think my tradition will be that I will quote a section from one of my favorite books, Here and Now: Living in the Spirit by Henri J.M. Nouwen, a Canadian theologian who died in 1996. (Copyright 1994, published by The Crossroad Publishing Company.)
I share this passage about birthdays, not only for my sake, but, I hope, for yours as well:
Birthdays need to be celebrated. I think it is more important to celebrate a birthday than a successful exam, a promotion, or a victory. Because to celebrate a birthday means to say to someone: “Thank you for being you.” Celebrating a birthday is exalting life and being glad for it. On a birthday we do not say: “Thanks for what you did, or said, or accomplished.” No, we say: “Thank you for being born and being among us.” … Celebrating a birthday reminds us of the goodness of life, and in this spirit we really need to celebrate people’s birthdays every day, by showing gratitude, kindness, forgiveness, gentleness, and affection. These are ways of saying: “It’s good that you are alive; it;s good that you are walking with me on this earth. Let’s be glad and rejoice. This is the day that God has made for us to be and to be together.” *** Oh, and thanks, good friend Fred for your kind words today. I assume the use of the color green in the headline was no accident.