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John Thorn Quotes


A noted sports historian.
(1947 - )

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And then came the nineties, when management, suddenly frightened that they had ceded control to the players, sought to restore baseball's profitability by 'running the game like a business.'
 

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.
 

Award trophies, as opposed to letting the players define and claim their own. Ultimately, pay them to play so that their activity not only resembles work but is work.
 

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.
[Baseball]
 

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 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]
 

But the citizens of Cincinnati loved their Reds because they won, no matter what their addresses had been the year before. They rooted for the Old-English 'C' on the players' shirts.
 

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.
 

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

Do we settle on a regional team because we can go to its ballpark and see its games on television? Or do we choose a team as our favorite because it has an especially appealing player, a Barry Bonds or an Ichiro?
 

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.
 

Finally, for all of us but a lucky few, the dream of playing big-time baseball is relinquished so we can get on with grown-up things.
 

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.
 

For many of us, sport has provided the continuity in our lives, the alternative family to the one we left behind. It gives us something to talk about, to preen about, to care about.
 

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.
 

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

In over 160 years of recorded baseball history, no team had ever won a championship this way.
[Baseball]
 

In response to the challenge of strangers, sport arose as a sublimated representation of a community's armed might as well as its pride of place and clan.
 

More fundamentally, it is a dream that does not die with the onset of manhood: the dream is to play endlessly, past the time when you are called home for dinner, past the time of doing chores, past the time when your body betrays you past time itself.
 

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.
 


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