- The Washington Times - Friday, October 13, 2006

The death of Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle puts it all in perspective.

Or so it has become fashionable to note after a single-engine plane carrying Lidle and his flight instructor slammed into a 42-story apartment building in Manhattan on Wednesday afternoon.

It almost was as surreal as the photograph of an apparently agitated Alec Baldwin standing near the cordoned-off scene, which is evidence anew that the puffy-faced actor has not left the country as promised following the presidential election in 2000.

It also was confirmation anew that “athletes are not invincible or indestructible,” no more than journalists, commentators, talking heads, bureaucrats, artists, CEOs and the next-door neighbors.

And athletes are human, too.

Why, they probably put their pants on one leg at a time just as you do.

All this passes as deep insight in the 24/7 media marketplace, forever required to provide instant analysis to events not easily deconstructed minutes after they have unfolded.

It is as if Lidle should have modeled his life after those who see danger lurking in every aspect of life.

This hindsight, like all hindsight, is convenient and overlooks the obvious, which is: Living is dangerous stuff.

Plenty of Americans die each day, many younger than Lidle’s 34 years and sometimes for reasons no more complex than picking the wrong moment to cross a busy intersection.

The alternative to living with a fair dose of gusto is to measure every risk/reward pursuit before leaving the safety of your home each day. That would include considering the ample risk of hopping into your automobile.

We have learned in the last few months that professional athletes should not ride motorcycles, take up flying lessons or mix pain pills with nutritional supplements. And no one ever should invade the space of a stingray.

In this perfect world of pontificators, professional athletes possibly should opt to live in a germ-free bubble when they otherwise are not engaged in their athletic duties and should wear a helmet at all times, even when asleep.

Yet even in the Bubble of Eden, the act of going to and from the practice facilities would be fraught with peril.

The nervous Nellies in our midst miss the absurdness of it all, no better symbolized than the neighborhood parent who equips his tyke with a helmet and knee and elbow pads in order to navigate a tricycle traveling at the high speed of one millimeter an hour.

A media critic with the New York Daily News yesterday criticized two radio gabbers who had been uncommonly hard on Lidle’s pitching performance this past season, as if these shoot-from-the-hip practitioners should have softened their shots on the prospect of their target’s impending death.

This should serve as a warning to those in Indianapolis who might be hammering the deportment of Stephen Jackson. You never know. Jackson could be dead in a couple of days, and then how would his critics feel?

Death has a way of bringing out the addled-brain in all of us, and that proclivity is heightened by a never-ending news cycle that is rarely designed to be thoughtful.

Perhaps that goes double for the sports part of the news cycle, accustomed as it is to usually dispensing its froth on the basis of the scoreboard and statistics.

Perspective comes hard to those who have no perspective around the games, which can result in a copious amount of blubbering.

It was said that wins and losses do not matter at times like these, although the Tigers might insist otherwise after defeating the A’s in Game 2 of their series Wednesday night.

For the Tigers, the final score appeared to put it all in perspective, at least as far as their perspective goes.

The mining of the Lidle tragedy will play out in the days ahead before dying its own death in the news cycle.

Today is not guaranteed to anyone, and that is just the way it is.

That should be an unnecessary observation.

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