Baseball is my lifeline. As a youth, Wrigley Field was my sanctuary. The Cubs -- the losers with heart -- were my saints with dirty faces. As an adult, I moved to San Francisco and adopted the Giants even though they hadn’t won a world series since 1954. I have kept the faith and they have kept me hopeful.
During the 2002 World Series we needed heroes more than ever. The last two years were marked by terrible violence: 9/11, war with Afghanistan and Iraq, and the DC sniper shootings. The Giants were seven outs away from accomplishing the unthinkable, becoming the world champions. I believed we would win. Then, in the blink of an eye, with a five run lead, the bottom fell out. We lost. But, I didn’t lose hope; I found comfort in George Wills’s belief that you can’t like baseball if winning is everything. He said that the same holds true for democracy, it is small incremental changes that determine who wins and who loses-- patience is required.
I work in the San Francisco County Jail to change the violent behavior of criminals. Like baseball or democracy, this kind of change is measured in small increments; it demands patience. But seeing a repeat offender exhibit heartfelt empathy towards victims of violence and become a respectable citizen is like watching a second string rookie hit a walk off home run.
This year the Cubs are poised to win the World Series, their first in a hundred years. If the Cubs finally win, maybe true democracy or world peace will be next.