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Pete Hamill reviews the new book, Willie Mays: The Life, the Legend in today’s New York Times. 

The opening paragraph struck me as brilliant:

A long time ago in America, there was a beautiful game called baseball. This was before 30 major-league teams were scattered in a blurry variety of divisions; before 162-game seasons and extended playoffs and fans who watched World Series games in thick down jackets; before the D.H. came to the American League; before AstroTurf on baseball fields and aluminum bats on sandlots; before complete games by pitchers were a rarity; before ballparks were named for corporations instead of individuals; and long, long before the innocence of the game was permanently stained by the filthy deception of steroids.

In that vanished time, there was a ballplayer named Willie Mays.

Call me sappy, call me old-fashioned, call me whatever.  But without having lived through that era of baseball, that excerpt sums up my feelings of the game perfectly.

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