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.