St. Louis Cardinals: Baseball is the real panacea

Deck McGuire posted an outstanding outing on 6/12/13 in Memphis. Photo credit: Roger Cotton, Memphis Redbirds
Deck McGuire posted an outstanding outing on 6/12/13 in Memphis. Photo credit: Roger Cotton, Memphis Redbirds /

On Sunday, June 12, the St. Louis Cardinals swept the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Shortly thereafter, the Memphis Redbirds won their game against the Colorado Springs Sky Sox.  This was a good day in Cardinals country but a rough day in the world.

I awoke on Sunday, June 12th to the terrible news of the massacre in Orlando.  I also awoke to the news that the Cardinals were going for the sweep against their divisional rival, the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Both of these things held equal share on my radar.

Before I go any farther with this editorial let me assuage any worry that this will be politically biased or motivated in any single way.  I am instead writing this piece with a heavy heart but with hope that is found through the diamond that we call America’s pastime.

To the Sunday that changed things for too many people.  As has been well covered, and which shall not be covered here, fifty individuals lost their lives to the senseless acts of one man with one powerful weapon.  This came, yes, at the end of a gun barrel but could have easily come at the grill of a vehicle (albeit the death toll might not have been so great).

Upon reading of the horror (I like to take my news via the printed variety), I was immediately taken back to previous horrors that we Americans have faced.  As I continued to scroll down my Twitter feed (one of the “print” varieties I read), I found myself perplexed by the dichotomy of the Orlando bloodshed and the promise of the Cardinals sweep.

More from Redbird Rants

This took me back directly to 2001 when the World Trade Center was under attack.  The difference between then and now lies directly in the dichotomy that was found in my Twitter feed: then, baseball stopped; now, baseball continued.

I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, suggesting that we are better or worse now because our national pastime continued but am suggesting that I find the sureness of baseball to be the respite that I needed on this dark Sunday.

Let me play a little more with this… In light of all the tragedies that our species faces, I find respite in baseball’s set rules.  I find respite in the set twenty-seven outs.  I find respite in the ninety feet of running lane.  I find respite even in the items that fluctuate from game to game such as the strike zone, the pitches, the outcomes.

This, to me, is the panacea of our ills.

In my need for this respite (although already planned to attend), I attended the Memphis Redbirds’ competition against the Sky Sox in Memphis on this shaking Sunday.  I needed to see nine men working in concert to defeat another set of nine men without violence save the snap of the ball into a glove or the crack of the ball against a wooden bat.

More from St Louis Cardinals News

I needed to watch in person with other humans something outside of the drone of the newsfeeds spelling for each viewer the ins-and-outs of the panic.  I needed to watch the calculated, planned, and executed strategy of pitch after pitch rather than shot after shot.  I needed something that I knew to be true.

This is what baseball is for me.  And on this night when I needed this escape, Memphis’ Deck McGuire provided an outstanding outing of eight shut-out innings.  On a night when fifty lives had been surrendered earlier the previous morning, McGuire surrendered only two hits.  On a night when that morning saw countless bullets, McGuire sent seven batters back to their bench via strike out.

Why write about McGuire here?  Aside from the fact that he had stellar stuff, McGuire reminded me of the spectacle of baseball through the minute moments while the remainder of the world circled a crisis.  McGuire showed the skill necessary to accomplish the task of quieting twenty-six batters (he surrendered two hits) when a nightclub in Orlando felt no silence.

And, McGuire reminded me of how baseball can bring us all back to a place of civility when something rocks our world in the same way that the return of the New York Mets and Mike Piazza‘s home run did in 2001.

Next: St. Louis Cardinals Rounding Into Form

So, what matters most?  Certainly maintaining our freedom and maintaining our lives and maintaining our loved ones.  And maybe a great deal of baseball too; or at least the lessons learned therein.  Go Cardinals, and may the greater angels of our nature win out the day.