I’ve always liked baseball. I grew up a Mets fan (you gotta believe), and have always enjoyed sitting back and watching a game unfold. When people ask why, I usually say that it’s an outlet: an opportunity to get emotionally engaged in something that doesn’t, in the grand scheme of things, actually matter. Unlike religion, the environment, politics, or any of the many other things that I care about, the world doesn’t end if my team loses. And I appreciate that ability to get invested in something purely fun, without feeling like to fate of the world is riding on the outcome.
Now, thanks to Donald Lopez’s recent contribution to Tricycle Magazine, I have yet anther reason to appreciate the sport. Writing in a style reminiscent of Gary Snyder’s Smokey the Bear Sūtra, Lopez crafts a text in which the Buddha explains how he created baseball to teach the impermanence and unpredictability of life. It’s a humorous piece, but he makes a good point: despite being driven by statistics and despite players’ carefully orchestrated workouts, baseball games, seasons, and careers can still turn on the smallest decisions or mistakes. The result is that the game remains unpredictable for both players and fans.
Just ask Bill Buckner.
☞ Buddha Takes the Mound by Donald S. Lopez Jr