- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 28, 2013

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Bill Millsaps is a former sports editor of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. During a long and distinguished career, he won multiple Virginia sports writer of the year awards and he was named The Associated Press Sports Editors’ Red Smith Award winner in 2011.

Why? Many reasons, one of them being Millsaps can tell a story with the best of them.

One of his favorites concerns his father, W. Hobart Millsaps, who was principal at Chattanooga High School in Tennessee. The elder Millsaps was a stern sort and he made it clear he wasn’t Dad at school and while there, his son was no different from the rest of the students.So young Millsaps was a bit alarmed one day when the principal knocked on the door of his classroom and told the teacher, “I need to see Bill.”

Bill followed the principal into his office, trying to figure out what he might have done to get called out of class. They got to the office. The door closed.

Today's picture shows a crowd watching a baseball scoreboard. The picture was taken in 1917. During this era, there were elaborate scoreboards that would show what was going on in the game. They even had little mechanical figures on the bases, or going around the diamond. I was like you watched a mechanical reenactment of the game on the board. There was a special name for these sophisticated mechanical scoreboards, but I am not able to remember the name.
Today’s picture shows a crowd watching a baseball scoreboard. The picture was ... more >

And W. Hobart Millsaps smiled and said, “Sit down, son. Don Larsen is pitching a perfect game.”

That would have been Oct. 8, 1956, when Don Larsen of the Yankees pitched the only perfect game in World Series history.

New York beat the crosstown rival Brooklyn Dodgers 2-0 that day and Bill Millsaps got to experience the end of the game by watching it on a small TV with his dad.

Davey Johnson, the manager of the Washington Nationals, created a mantra of sorts when he declared “World Series or bust” for his team this season.

The Nationals are certainly capable of winning the Series, just as they were last year. But as we learned last year, being good enough isn’t enough.

There are probably 10 other teams that can make that claim and all of them aren’t winning the Series. Or even getting there.

If the Nats do get to the Series, it would be cooler than cool. Baseball may not have the overall appeal it used to have, and it is kidding itself if it thinks it is as popular as the NFL.

But the World Series? It remains terrific, and having the national spotlight shining on the town for sporting reasons would be a ton of fun.

That said, it would have been a lot more fun in the old days. The Series has always been cool. It was a lot more cool when you had to work at it. Simply put, the World Series was much more cool during the day. That will never happen again, thanks to the incredible amount of television money available these days. A kid’s challenge these days is staying awake until the games end after 11 p.m. on the East Coast. Heck, some adults have that challenge, too.

So indulge an aging man. Get off my lawn, then gather ‘round while I tell you why I miss the simpler times. Why I miss those chances to bond over a great game. Why I miss finding ways to get sneaky and keep up with the score when I should have been paying attention to my arithmetic.

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