The essence of baseball

Without the number nine, there is no baseball. There’s nine players on a team, nine innings in a game, and without those two you components you have some other game going on besides baseball.

I once memorized Ernest Lawrence Thayer’s classic “Casey at the Bat” for a presentation in class, and the first line is something I’ll probably be able to blurt out anytime, anywhere, for as long as I live:

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Mudville Nine that day….

I’ve also been in a number of fantasy baseball leagues over the years, and a fair number of my teams have gone forth under the banner of the Mudville Nine. It’s a title that sticks with me, as a reminder of how enduring baseball has been over the past century and more that it’s been played.

And so it was with great satisfaction that I learned this blog–which wasn’t so much as a thought in my mind six months ago–is now at number 9 among fan blogs at I have found a considerable number of informative, well-written blogs on this site, and I’m very pleased to be in their midst.

The player pictured above, Hank Blalock, is significant for more than just wearing the number nine. But that’s a story for another time. For now, I’ll just relish the completion of a full month of baseball’s off-season. There’s only four more months until Opening Day.

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