FIRE JOE MORGAN: Buzz Bissinger Thinks We Can't Love Baseball


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Saturday, July 23, 2005


Buzz Bissinger Thinks We Can't Love Baseball

From the preface to "Three Nights in August":

"In this new wave of baseball, managers are less 'managers' than 'middle managers,' functionaries whose strategic options during a game require muzzlement, there only to effect the marching orders coldly calculated and passed down by upper management. It is wrong to say that the new breed doesn't care abut baseball. But it's not wrong to say that there is no way they could possibly 'love' it, and so much of baseball is about love. They don't have the sense of history, which to the thirtysomethings is largely bunk. They don't have the bus trips or the plane trips. They don't carry along the tradition, because they couldn't care less about the tradition. They have no use for the lore of the game -- the poetry of its stories -- because it can't be broken down and crunched into a computer. Just as they have no interest in the human ingredients that make a player a player and make a game a game: heart, desire, passion, reactions to pressure. After all, these are emotions, and what point are emotions if they can't be quantified?"

Of all of the stupid things I have read about baseball, and which we have discussed on this board, this makes me the angriest.

I know he's talking about managers, (although at times he seems mid-sentence to shift to talking about GMs), but extrapolating just a tiny bit, he means people like us, too.

I promise you, Buzz, I love baseball. So does Tito Francona. So does Ken Macha. So do Theo Epstein, JP Riccardi, and Billy Beane.

Saying that the "new breed" doesn't care about things like heart, desire, passion, and reactions to pressure is stupid. The entire Theo Epstein era in Boston has been about finding (a) good players who are (b) loose enough to handle the Boston press. Would Kevin Millar be on this team if Epstein didn't care at all about things like "human ingredients?"

The "new breed" loves baseball as much as the "old breed." They're just smarter about putting winning teams together. If they didn't care about baseball, they'd go to Wall Street or run a hedge fund and make about fifty times as much money.

I've read four pages of your book and already hate you.


posted by Anonymous  # 2:53 PM
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