The therapist was being kind but, what kind of business could a therapist do by being unkind? The kindness wasn’t helping my mood. I wanted someone to be ticked off with me. Things are just kind of getting me down. I mean, how could I be getting disillusioned at my age? Can’t be that but, damn it,what is it? The world was fixed once, wasn’t it? Our parents and grandparents went through two world wars and the big Depression and they fixed everything. The bad guys lost. Hitler and Mussolini and that guy in Japan all got their asses kicked by the good guys from the U.S. and their colorful friends from Europe and Asia and whatever. It wasn’t easy but they got it done. Freedom won out over tyranny. Not only that, but the horrible effects of economic collapse were overcome by the hard work of tough labor organizers and strong people demanding equality with the help of FDR and the good hearted American people. After their fierce struggles, then we could have houses to live in, all of us, and food to eat, and long and low cars with sharp fins and television and movies and, well, just about everything. But now look. There is war everywhere and people living in tents and dying on the streets. What happened?
Larry (he lets me call him Larry) told me that it was indeed rough out there but maybe I should calm down. Maybe we should talk about something else for a while. Like maybe baseball, he suggested. That didn’t help. I asked my therapist for another beverage. Look, I told him, it’s the same kind of story. Things had gotten bad in baseball right after WWI and the big flu thing but the good guys won again . Babe Ruth and the home run ball got people back into it. Then, after WWII, the majors started signing players no matter what race they were and not only did the games get better and more fun but also a big blow was struck for racial equality. Jackie Robinson, Larry Doby, Don Newcombe, Monte Irvin and others brought social progress and quality baseball along simultaneously. Again, it sure wasn’t easy, but by the time Curt Flood took a stand in 1970, black players were leading the way and dominating the game. Guys like Willie Mays and Hank Aaron and Frank Robinson and Bob Gibson and Joe Morgan absolutely fixed the game when it needed fixing. The players won free agency and started getting paid what they were worth. But now look. Scandal after scandal. Cocaine. Steroids.Everybody making so much money that they’re all losing touch with what makes the game great, and the working people can’t afford to go to the ballpark anymore. Electronic invasion and stealing signs crushing the integrity of the game. Who’s a bad guy now? Mike Fiers? Carlos Beltran? Alex Cora? Or what?
Larry the therapist grabbed himself a beverage. I admire the way he can make the bottle cap disappear and pour into the glass without making a sound, or so it seems.
“They’ve starting playing games now,” he said. “Yeah,” I answered. “But the Giants don’t have a fucking chance.” We tapped our glasses together and laughed.