Of the Hawk, Mencken and Boardwalk

Vladimir Guerrero is going to play baseball this year. So will Jermaine Dye and many other free agents. There is no 27th out in this contest. This is not a clear-cut scoreboard where somebody wins and the other side loses, forcing them to go home.

That is unless you turn your back on Pittsburgh and Baltimore in the hopes that Atlanta doesn’t know how to play the game, only to find 304 career home runs and an uncertain future staring you in the face. Your adversary may have the humble beginnings as a school teacher but don’t get overconfident just because there are no vines climbing up the schoolhouse wall. Rings from South and Midwest are far more important than silver spoons or movie scripts.

sp_andre_dawson.jpgOverall it’s just a matter of who goes where, and what everybody is missing is the Hawk knew better than anybody how to get the last laugh. That is so so right in front of everybody’s faces this week and far far too few people understand it. It has become a light-hearted anecdote rather than a stern lesson for many to grasp.

Five percent is still five percent, no matter what the final numbers and the Hawk, more than anybody, knew when it was time to fly.

As the great H.L. Mencken once said, “The chief value of money lies in the fact that one lives in a world where it is overestimated.”

But there is much money at stake at this point of the calendar so “Salve veritate” takes a holiday on all sides. It’s much easier to cry foul rather than to tread the road that the Deerslayer tread beforehand.

The fight over nickels and dimes turns into the UFC. There are no-holds barred at this point in this desperate fight for the fiscal upper-hand and far too many outlets and far too many perceived chums to not play every card possible.

It works on both sides of Boardwalk and the wise one knows one flash could be worth far  more than multiple hotels on Park Place or even the misguided attempt to own all four Railroads.

It’s just a matter of knowing the right URL and how to get there. There are certain boulevards that all play on, but make sure they arrive from multiple cross-streets. It’s an art that is crucial and missed completely by Robert E. Lee on his fateful third day in the Keystone State.

Why charge ahead forcefully and honestly into the Cemetery when the art of subterfuge remains applauded at this time of the year? Especially by the quartermasters as opposed to the infantry. Who knows what a whisper or nudge to a best pal might bring when it comes down to the bottom line. It is cut-throat to the end and all else is thrown out the window.

In the end though, all will have jobs, and all will be given jobs, even if it’s at the expense of probity. Rectitude is the first casualty of the off-season. But it’s all about wins and losses once the season begins and none of this daily gamesmanship will ultimately matter in 162. No one can hide after 162.

Then it just comes down to smart decisions and all the extraneous winter contrivances won’t matter.  In the spring, summer and fall, it truly is win or go home.

Except for the Hawk. Only July 25, he soars higher than anybody, an enduring testament to talent, integrity and the will to do what’s right.


I am the walrus.

Okay, I get it — you’re a “Beat” writer. Like, coolsville, daddy-o.

I am the eggman.


I am probably off but, my feable guess for at least part of it:

There are a lot of free agents left who are trying to get as much money as they can get while the GM’s are playing it close to the vest hoping to get the most talent as cheaply as possible. Vlad and the Rangers are among those playing the winter game. The winter game is over money. It is also about bravado… “who won” and “who lost” as free agents and GM’s. Who gets to brag about the job they did this winter. But, give it a few more weeks and in the end, they will all get their jobs, the rosters will all out get filled out, spring training will begin and the games will begin to count. Then the grind of spring, summer and fall begins to determine who gets to keep going in October and who goes home a loser again.

But, this game is not just about money and stats and power. This game is also about the character of a man’s heart. It is about who he is on the inside. It is about integrity to the game. Dawson understood that and because he did, he gets the last laugh.

Andre Dawson won the most this winter. He has now been acknowledged as the top of the top. On July 25 he will get what these other guys could only hope to get and some are smart enough to not even hope. He will be ushered into the realm of the best. His entrance will be a “testament to talent, integrity and the will to do what’s right.” He was incredibly talented, he worked hard from the beginning to the end of his career and he never cheated. Unlike some other “greats,” in the end he won.

Even after some people see where talent, hard work and integrity got Dawson, they still won’t learn the lesson. They will keep chasing down roads that get them no where.

I’m probably wrong…but that’s how I read it.

One more thing:

Management is just as guilty as players of being untrue to the game because they reward only the bottom line…even if the pursuit for the bottom line ends up destroying a player’s career or life. (“into the cemetery”) “It is cut-throat to the end and all else (the character and integrity of the game) is thrown out the window.”

Now, watch TR laugh out loud at my lame attempt.

I am a professional copywriter. I could probably get about $3.00 for the column written above. My comment is Whaaa

But what if the goal was to be cryptic while communicating a heart felt issue? He’s already proven through the years he can write with professional clarity. He doesn’t have any thing to “prove.” Maybe he is using a different technique to make a point. Look, I’m probably wrong about its meaning anyway but why not go with the flow instead of being critical?

I somehow feel that one of us has to say this to you. I appreciated this column TR. Baseball doesn’t have to have “Illiterate” writers.

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