Thursday, May 12, 2005

Baseball Quotes

There have been only two geniuses in the world.  Willie Mays and Willie Shakespeare.  ~Tallulah Bankhead Baseball fans love numbers.  They love to swirl them around their mouths like Bordeaux wine.  ~Pat Conroy Don't tell me about the world.  Not today.  It's springtime and they're knocking baseball around fields where the grass is damp and green in the morning and the kids are trying to hit the curve ball.  ~Pete Hamill More than any other American sport, baseball creates the magnetic, addictive illusion that it can almost be understood.  ~Thomas Boswell, in Inside Sports Baseball?  It's just a game - as simple as a ball and a bat.  Yet, as complex as the American spirit it symbolizes.  It's a sport, business - and sometimes even religion.  ~Ernie Harwell, "The Game for All America," 1955 I don't love baseball.  I don't love most of today's players.  I don't love the owners.  I do love, however, the baseball that is in the heads of baseball fans.  I love the dreams of glory of 10-year-olds, the reminiscences of 70-year-olds.  The greatest baseball arena is in our heads, what we bring to the games, to the telecasts, to reading newspaper reports.  ~Stan Isaacs, "Diamond-Studded Memories," Newsday, 9 April 1990 Baseball is a harbor, a seclusion from failure that really matters, a playful utopia in which virtuosity can be savored to the third decimal place of a batting average.  ~Mark Kramer Basketball, hockey and track meets are action heaped upon action, climax upon climax, until the onlooker's responses become deadened.  Baseball is for the leisurely afternoons of summer and for the unchanging dreams.  ~Roger Kahn [L]ike those special afternoons in summer when you go to Yankee Stadium at two o'clock in the afternoon for an eight o'clock game.  It's so big, so empty and so silent that you can almost hear the sounds that aren't there.  ~Ray Miller Why does everybody stand up and sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" when they're already there?  ~Larry Anderson Things could be worse.  Suppose your errors were counted and published every day, like those of a baseball player.  ~Author Unknown All requests for leave of absence on account of grandmother's funeral, sore throat, housecleaning, lame back, turning of the ringer, headaches, brain storm, cousin's wedding, general ailments or other legitimate excuses must be made out and handed to the boss not later than 10 a.m. on the morning of the game.  ~Traditional gag notice hung in offices and factories at a time period when all games were played during daylight hours Baseball is very big with my people.  It figures.  It's the only way we can get to shake a bat at a white man without starting a riot.  ~Dick Gregory Baseball is reassuring.  It makes me feel as if the world is not going to blow up.  ~Sharon Olds, This Sporting Life, 1987 One of the chief duties of the fan is to engage in arguments with the man behind him.  This department of the game has been allowed to run down fearfully.  ~Robert Benchley Though I like the various forms of football in the world, I don't think they begin to compare with these two great Anglo-Saxon ball games for sophisticated elegance and symbolism.  Baseball and cricket are beautiful and highly stylized medieval war substitutes, chess made flesh, a mixture of proud chivalry and base - in both senses - greed.  With football we are back to the monotonous clashing armor of the brontosaurus.  ~John Fowles It is well to remember that a Martian observing his first baseball game would be quite correct in concluding that the last two words of the National Anthem are:  PLAY BALL!  ~Herbert H. Paper, in Cincinnati Enquirer, 2 April 1989 I believe in the Church of Baseball.  I tried all the major religions and most of the minor ones.  I've worshipped Buddha, Allah, Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, trees, mushrooms and Isadora Duncan.  I know things.  For instance, there are 108 beads in a Catholic rosary and there are 108 stitches in a baseball.  When I learned that, I gave Jesus a chance.  ~Ron Shelton, Bull Durham, 1988 The great thing about baseball is that there's a crisis every day.  ~Gabe Paul I have discovered in twenty years of moving around a ball park, that the knowledge of the game is usually in inverse proportion to the price of the seats.  ~Bill Veeck A game of great charm in the adoption of mathematical measurements to the timing of human movements, the exactitudes and adjustments of physical ability to hazardous chance.  The speed of the legs, the dexterity of the body, the grace of the swing, the elusiveness of the slide - these are the features that make Americans everywhere forget the last syllable of a man's last name or the pigmentation of his skin.  ~Branch Rickey, May 1960 I became a good pitcher when I stopped trying to make them miss the ball and started trying to make them hit it.  ~Sandy Koufax Hitting is timing.  Pitching is upsetting timing.  ~Warren Spahn Don't forget to swing hard, in case you hit the ball.  ~Woodie Held Putting lights in Wrigley Field is like putting aluminum siding on the Sistine Chapel.  ~Roger Simon, 1988 You know it's summertime at Candlestick when the fog rolls in, the wind kicks up, and you see the center fielder slicing open a caribou to survive the ninth inning.  ~Bob Sarlette The place was always cold, and I got the feeling that the fans would have enjoyed baseball more if it had been played with a hockey puck.  ~Andre Dawson, on Montreal A baseball game is twice as much fun if you're seeing it on the company's time.  ~William C. Feather Ninety feet between home plate and first base may be the closest man has ever come to perfection.  ~Red Smith It ain't nothin' till I call it.  ~Bill Klem, umpire Baseball, it is said, is only a game.  True.  And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona.  ~George F. Will, Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball, 1990 Baseball is like a poker game.  Nobody wants to quit when he's losing; nobody wants you to quit when you're ahead.  ~Jackie Robinson Being with a woman all night never hurt no professional baseball player.  It's staying up all night looking for a woman that does him in.  ~Casey Stengel Baseball is an island of activity amidst a sea of statistics.  ~Author Unknown The greatest feeling in the world is to win a major league game.  The second-greatest feeling is to lose a major league game.  ~Chuck Tanner, quoted in The Sporting News, 15 July 1985 What we have are good gray ballplayers, playing a good gray game and reading the good gray Wall Street Journal.  They have been brainwashed, dry-cleaned and dehydrated!... Wake up the echoes at the Hall of Fame and you will find that baseball's immortals were a rowdy and raucous group of men who would climb down off their plaques and go rampaging through Cooperstown, taking spoils.... Deplore it if you will, but Grover Cleveland Alexander drunk was a better pitcher than Grover Cleveland Alexander sober.  ~Bill Veeck, The Hustler's Handbook Baseball happens to be a game of cumulative tension but football, basketball and hockey are played with hand grenades and machine guns.  ~John Leonard, New York Times, 2 November 1975 They are supposed to be dispassionate dispensers of Pure Justice, icy islands of emotionless calculation.  In short, umpires should be acute Republicans.  ~George F. Will, 1990 Baseball is a ballet without music.  Drama without words.  ~Ernie Harwell, "The Game for All America," 1955 Well, boys, it's a round ball and a round bat and you got to hit the ball square.  ~Joe Schultz, 1969 Pitchers, like poets, are born not made.  ~Cy Young What does a mama bear on the pill have in common with the World Series?  No cubs.  ~Harry Caray You know you're pitching well when the batters look as bad as you do at the plate.  ~Duke Snider, 1975 There are two theories on hitting the knuckleball.  Unfortunately, neither of them work.  ~Charlie Lau, 1982 It actually giggles at you as it goes by.  ~Rick Monday, on Phil Niekro's knuckleball, quoted in Sports Illustrated, 1 August 1983 The best way to catch a knuckleball is to wait until the ball stops rolling and then pick it up.  ~Bob Uecker [A knuckleball is] a curve ball that doesn't give a damn.  ~Jimmy Cannon Baseball statistics are like a girl in a bikini.  They show a lot, but not everything.  ~Toby Harrah, 1983 Reading about baseball is a lot more interesting than reading about chess, but you have to wonder:  Don't any of these guys ever go fishing?  ~Dave Shiflett, quoted in Houston Chronicle, 29 April 1990 Spread the diaper in the position of the diamond with you at bat.  Then fold second base down to home and set the baby on the pitcher's mound.  Put first base and third together, bring up home plate and pin the three together.  Of course, in case of rain, you gotta call the game and start all over again.  ~Jimmy Piersal, on how to diaper a baby, 1968 To a pitcher, a base hit is the perfect example of negative feedback.  ~Steve Hovley, 1969 It never ceases to amaze me how many of baseball's wounds are self-inflicted.  ~Bill Veeck, The Hustler's Handbook A mystique of history and heritage surrounds the New York Yankees.  It's like the old days revived.  We're loved and hated, but always in larger doses than any other team.  We're the only team in any sport whose name and uniform and insignia are synonymous with their entire sport all over the world.... the Yankees mean baseball to more people than all the other teams combined.  ~Paul Blair, quoted in Washington Post, 22 June 1978 Hating the New York Yankees is as American as apple pie, unwed mothers and cheating on your income tax.  ~Mike Royko, 1981 Rooting for the Yankees is like rooting for the house in blackjack.  ~Adam Morrow, quoted in Bill Simmons, "Letters from the Nation," 20 October 2003 I have observed that baseball is not unlike war, and when you get right down to it, we batters are the heavy artillery.  ~Ty Cobb Baseball is too much of a sport to be called a business, and too much of a business to be called a sport.  ~Philip Wrigley Baseball isn't a business, it's more like a disease.  ~Walter F. O'Malley England and America should scrap cricket and baseball and come up with a new game that they both can play.  Like baseball, for example.  ~Robert Benchley Baseball is the only game left for people.  To play basketball, you have to be 7 feet 6 inches.  To play football, you have to be the same width.  ~Bill Veeck, 1975 Baseball is drama with an endless run and an ever-changing cast.  ~Joe Garagiola, Baseball is a Funny Game Don't park in the spaces marked, "Reserved for Umpires."  ~John McSherry Baseball fans are junkies, and their heroin is the statistic.  ~Robert S. Wieder The season starts too early and finishes too late and there are too many games in between.  ~Bill Veeck Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good too.  ~Greg, age 8 When Steve and I die, we are going to be buried in the same cemetery, 60-feet 6-inches apart.  ~Tim McCarver, who caught all of Steve Carlton's games, 1977 What are we at the park for except to win?  I'd trip my mother.  I'd help her up, brusher her off, tell her I'm sorry.  But mother don't make it to third.  ~Leo Durocher There ought to be some other means of reckoning quality in this the best and loveliest of games; the scoreboard is an ass.  ~Neville Cardus, A Fourth Innings with Cardus, 1981 In cricket, as in no other game,


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