I will admit up front that I missed most of the show but I have it scheduled to DVR on the west coast replay feed of HBO but the Willie Mays/Hank Aaron portion of tonight's Costas Now reminds me of why I love baseball. Seeing these two guys and the players in the audience and their banter makes me feel like a 10 year old kid again who found a sport he loved and played for the enjoyment of the game. It also reminded me of a time when personalities shined and you loved the big names in the sport. Bare with me as I tell you why when you finish reading this, you should check your local listings for the next showing.
I am typing this as I listen to the overtime session online and honestly, I don't want it to end. I am sitting here and I love hearing these stories and remembering them as someone other then their ties to Barry Bonds, but the great players and people they were on the field. Hearing their love of the game and the camaraderie they had verses who someone slept with off the field or stories of how little innings one can possibly manage leaves me awestruck. Willie's mention of playing 9 innings in 11 all star games alone is a stat I think many in the major leagues today need to remember,players and executives and appreciate that. There weren't 30 teams with the top player of each team representing or ESPN showing highlights every night of the top plays, it was the pureness of the game when people played with heart and passion and showed it and you heard the plays or heard about the players from forklore. I am not knocking all current players because I know many have these same strong emotions toward the game but anymore it has become more of a business then the kid's game we all loved playing and watching the greatest excel at.
I must say also that I LOVE the new Costas Now format and I hope they maintain this for years to come with the town hall format and numerous, informative views on the topic in question. Going an hour and a half and then some on major topics that need to be discussed is more crucial then trying to fit in as many as he can into one hour. I know and anyone who knows Bob Costas by listening to him knows he has a great passion for sports and whether you agree with him or not, he can get top name guests and get to the point in discussion that sometimes need no holds barred comments. Axe discussed how important to the discussion of blogs and sports talk that episode of Costas Now was and I have to say that for those who love the game, this show as well may prove to be just as monumental. Again, this is having not watched all of it but I was supposed to meet the wife in bed an hour ago and right now, I want to stay away another hour or so and watch it from the beginning, despite having it programmed on the DVR already.
Baseball is this, its as its best when its at its simplest and purest. Hank Aaron and Willie Mays(and yes, if you want him on your baseball Mount Rushmore and I left him off, I will not argue that one bit and can understand taking Cal off for him but him only) are great examples of not only great players but ambassadors of the game. They didn't trash current athletes, they didn't act as though they were bigger then the game and they didn't blame the owners for all the wrongs in the game. These two men discussed at length how much they loved playing against each other, against others and that competitive drive that made them thrive. I am 35 years old with bad knees and right now, I want so bad to pick up my glove and go play baseball somewhere again because it made me realize what I miss about the game I love. Confident in their abilities but humbled to the game and its history and those who played it as well.
If you like baseball casually or love it, someone you know loves it or you just simply want to see why people care so much about the game many once considered the past time and not say it's time has past, watch this current episode of Costas Now on HBO. Watch these guys speak from their heart and realize these are not only guys who pioneered the game of baseball but changed culture as many saw it at the time. Listen to them speak about a time when many wished for their demise not just on a professional level but were filled with hatred racially that these men persevered through with dignity and class that maybe some of our current players and fans should recognize and consider when they had a bad day. Thank you Bob Costas for an outstanding program and thank you Willie and Hank for the memories tonight of a time in my life when as a kid, I dreamt to be like you and had fun trying, though obviously I didn't have a tenth of the ability, grace and desire you possessed. Anyone care to join me for a game of catch?