Roots of Baseball

Baseball is a summer game, but nothing compares to October. Playoff baseball. Pennant races. Aces on the mound. Clutch hitting. Whereas on a hot July afternoon the crack of the bat can be a soundtrack to the lazy days of summer, every pitch in the fall begins to matter. Every swing. Every read on the baseball, and every misread.

It’s when statistics and superstitions crowd the plate together, and sometimes become interchangeable. What wins out ultimately belongs to the imagination of the game itself. As the great Babe Ruth once said, “I have only one superstition: I make sure to touch all four bases when I hit a home run.”

Baseball’s roots run deep through his New York Yankees, who are trying to win their first World Series since 2009, when CC Sabathia came to New York and won the most games that year of any pitcher. The bling was back in the Big Apple, and really, the legends that have worn the pinstripes never stray far from the Bronx. Ruth. DiMaggio. Gehrig. Reggie. CC. They run from Roger Maris to Aaron Judge, who just broke his American League record with 62 home runs this season.

The names on the back change, but every franchise carries the connection to the past. This year the Dodgers are favorites to bring a World Series back to Los Angeles, perhaps in homage to the great Vin Scully, who passed away in August after calling Dodgers games for 67 years. Through Scully’s eyes the baton was passed from generation to generation, from Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field to Chavez Ravine, from Koufax to Kershaw, from the legendary Jackie Robinson — who opened the door for every black athlete in America — to Mookie Betts.

This year the roots run back through the American Northwest, through the Seattle Mariners who are back in the playoffs as the loveable underdogs. The smile of Ken Griffey Jr., the most iconic player in the team’s history, still brightens the dugout. As the city of Seattle celebrates October madness, it’s also a time a good time to pay homage to the man who donned the navy blue and northwest green.

We here at Roots of Fight are proud to connect yesterday’s icons with today’s thriving best, because tradition and baseball are one and the same.

And there’s nothing like October baseball, when those traditions are the point of pride.