- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 16, 2020

JACKSON, Wyoming — When in doubt, baseball is the answer.

In these harrowing times, the brightest silver lining has been the local-TV baseball station that — in the absence of an actual Major League Baseball season — plays “classic” games from years past every night. It is a transporting experience to relive so many glory days of bold mustaches, unabashed tobacco wads and violent dust-ups along the base paths.

Even better are the more recent “classics” where your team clinches playoffs, averts near-death losses and wins championships.

Best of all, we win every single night! Four months into our regular season and we still have not lost a single game.

Obviously, this is a wise business decision by the local sports station. Why replay games you lose? Especially during a pandemic. But I will take it. It is a fantasy world where all the sting is completely removed from life.

But, alas, it is just that. A fantasy. A mirage. A lie. At some point, you actually begin to miss the bitter taste of an occasional defeat, an opportunity to be feign graciousness and pretend to be humble even though you would challenge anyone to a duel over your certainty that your boys are the best.

In this year of plagues and pitchforks, the opening of Major League Baseball cannot come soon enough. But it will be a sad slap of reality when we go back to losing games almost every other night.

Certainly, it will be strange getting used to this 60-game season. But 60 games is better than none.

Sometimes life throws you crazy curve balls and the best response is to be grateful for the blessings you do have instead of obsessing over the injustices and unfairnesses that come with life. With every life. Sure, some lives feature more unfairnesses than others. But a life without unfairnesses or obstacles is — like baseball without losses — a mirage. A lie.

More important, it would also be a life not worth living — for life without obstacles would be a life without victories.

The question then is not how to best rage against the injustices in life. But how to overcome the injustices and clinch victories and taste that sweet success.

For certain, no obstacle in human history has ever been overcome by hopelessness. Or by stewing in bitterness and blame.

Sure, righteous indignation and anger are powerful motivators. But they must be tightly harnessed and wisely channelled toward overcoming the obstacles you face.

Here again, baseball has the answers.

For the better part of a century, Black Americans faced intolerable racism in America’s pastime. Black athletes were banned from professional baseball. When they were finally allowed to play, they endured the most disgusting treatment by team owners, many fans and even fellow players.

Consider for a minute the legion of mythical baseball giants America missed out on because so many great men were denied their basic right to fulfill their potential in baseball. First and foremost, it was an injustice against those men. But also it was a grievous loss to this country.

A hundred years ago, some of these great men joined together to form the Negro National League. They were surely driven by anger and righteous indignation. But never hopelessness.

Just using that name — perhaps out of context — would be enough to get a person “canceled” today. Shunned from society. Denied basic survival. In these times, of course, context has been rendered meaningless anyway.

These leagues themselves (there were several) are surely not something to aspire to. At the very least, it was segregated. It remains a symbol of an entirely unjust era, at least in terms of racial equality. It certainly wasn’t a fulfillment of the American Dream.

But in the context of the time, the Negro National League was a noble step along the way in a great and just struggle.

Today, America is a better place and we all are better off for the sacrifices those men made to get us where we are now.

Play ball!

• Charles Hurt is opinion editor of The Washington Times. He can be reached at churt@washingtontimes.com or @charleshurt on Twitter.

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