You Breaka My Face

Playing catcher for both teams on a pickup game on Sunday at my friend’s 40th birthday party, a long-time baseball-buddy threw hard from short to get the force at home. He short-hopped the throw, and it kicked higher than I tracked. Result? Broken schnoz, split lip, and game over because it was time for cake anyway.

Why do I bring this up? It’s not for the fact I want your pity and condolence for my suffering. I’m probably better-looking for the impact, and I am now quite fine and recovered. The point is that my favorite game is difficult. The flash point of action from the release of the pitch to the resolution of said action is a slight window. Our pile of happy amateurs, as so many thousands of people do every day, lit many matches and marveled at the moments of their brilliant bearing, and there was joy. For all the clamor I consistently raise of professional baseball players botching a situation, one thing I know:

Baseball Is The Greatest Game Ever Invented.

“With those who don’t give a damn about baseball, I can only sympathize. I do not resent them. I am even willing to concede that many of them are physically clean, good to their mothers and in favor of world peace. But while the game is on, I can’t think of anything to say to them.” — Art Hill

“Of course I was out. They had me by a foot. You just booted the play, so come on, let’s play ball.” — Ty Cobb

“People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.” — Rogers Horsnby

“It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone.” — A. Bartlett Giamatti

Please add your favorite quotations, aphorisms, truisms, and observations about The Greatest Game Ever Invented.

19 comments… add one

  • No pics of the carnage? I’m disappointed.
    My favorite, not sure of the original source:
    [Bob] Gibson was surly and brusque even with his teammates. When his catcher Tim McCarver went to the mound for a conference, Gibson brushed him off, saying “The only thing you know about pitching is you can’t hit it.”

    Brownie August 18, 2009, 4:19 pm
  • The greatest thrill in the world is to end the game with a home run and watch everybody else walk off the field while you’re running the bases on air. – Al Rosen

    Phil-SF August 18, 2009, 4:45 pm
  • Ag –
    Great post. I recently broke my nose whilst swimming with my son in the Colorado River – we both wish we’d been playing baseball instead.
    How about these:
    I’m convinced that every boy, in his heart, would rather steal second base than an automobile. ~Tom Clark
    for Krueg especially: A baseball game is simply a nervous breakdown divided into nine innings. ~Earl Wilson

    soxgirl August 18, 2009, 5:19 pm
  • I always liked:
    “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard… is what makes it great.” Jimmy Duggan in “A League of Their Own”

    Vic-SF August 18, 2009, 5:41 pm
  • “Gentlemen, for the past several weeks I have been having prophetic dreams. It is my considered opinion that if the Chicago Cubs win the National League pennant, the world is going to end”.
    Al “the Hun” Tiller, fictional manager of the Cubs, in WP Kinsella’s short story “The Last Pennant Before Armageddon”.

    SF August 18, 2009, 6:35 pm
  • > A baseball game is simply a nervous breakdown divided into nine innings.
    Brilliant.

    attackgerbil August 18, 2009, 6:58 pm
  • Weaver: “You’re here for one goddamn specific reason.”
    Ump: “What’s that, Earl?”
    Weaver: “To fuck us.”
    great post. gerb.

    YF August 18, 2009, 8:29 pm
  • You see, you spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball, and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the tim – Jim Bouton, Ball Four, 1970
    cool post

    LeoYF August 18, 2009, 10:12 pm
  • Great post, Gerb.
    There’s probably something Phil Rizzuto said during a broadcast worth quoting here, but right now I’m blanking.

    Nick-YF August 19, 2009, 2:24 am
  • Great thread topic. Can’t believe this hasn’t been said though:
    “This is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains.”

    Atheose August 19, 2009, 7:35 am
  • Okay, there are more that need to be said:
    “I see great things in baseball. It’s our game, the American game. It will repair our losses and be a blessing to us.” -Walt Whitman
    “Baseball gives every American boy a chance to excel, not just to be as good as someone else but to be better than someone else. This is the nature of man and the name of the game.” -Ted Williams
    “If a woman has to choose between catching a fly ball and saving an infant’s life, she will choose to save the infant’s life without even considering if there are men on base.” -Dave Barry
    “Every hitter likes fastballs, just like everybody likes ice cream. But you don’t like it when someone’s stuffing it into you by the gallon. That’s what it feels like when Nolan Ryan’s thrown balls by you.” -Reggie Jackson

    Atheose August 19, 2009, 7:48 am
  • “There’s probably something Phil Rizzuto said during a broadcast worth quoting here, but right now I’m blanking.”
    I remember this one from when I was a wee lad, watching them on PIX because there was no cable to watch the Sox on and I liked watching baseball:
    “Hey, White, last night I dreamt I was eating doorknobs!”

    ponch - sf August 19, 2009, 11:49 am
  • Hanging in the batting cages where my son practices (and I can only hope it’s real):
    “You teach me baseball and I’ll teach you relativity. You will learn about relativity faster than I learn baseball.”
    -Albert Einstein

    rootbeerfloat August 19, 2009, 3:05 pm
  • Ath, I hadn’t seen that Jackson quote about Nolan Ryan – thanks for that. Some of the greatest quotes are the ones from one player (or manager) about another and I love that one.
    As for other memorables:
    “Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona.” – George Will
    “The key to being a good manager is keeping the people who hate me away from those who are still undecided.” – Casey Stengel

    IronHorse August 19, 2009, 3:25 pm
  • There is one about Phil Niekro’s knuckleball giggling at you as it goes by that I love. No idea who said it though.

    rootbeerfloat August 19, 2009, 3:40 pm
  • “It actually giggles at you as you go by.” -Rick Monday
    In a piece filled with terrific quotes, I am a fan of this opening line:
    “Fenway Park, in Boston, is a lyric little bandbox of a ballpark.” – John Updike

    Paul SF August 19, 2009, 4:17 pm
  • AG’s got me browsing the baseball almanac site now – could waste days there. A couple by and about Walter Johnson:
    “His fastball looked about the size of a watermelon seed and it hissed at you as it passed.” – Ty Cobb
    “Just speed, raw speed, blinding speed, too much speed.” – Ty Cobb
    “You can’t hit what you can’t see.” – Walter Johnson

    IronHorse August 19, 2009, 6:23 pm
  • Yeah IH, I knew the Jackson/Ryan quote by heart, but the others I found while spending an hour of my morning looking up baseball quotes. I love this sport so much.

    Atheose August 19, 2009, 10:23 pm
  • anything said by [or attributed to] yogi:
    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Yogi_Berra

    dc August 20, 2009, 11:49 am

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