Topic: "Say It Ain't So,Joe" (2)
One of the great loves in Frodo's life is the inexplicable game of baseball. It was very hard for Frodo when he realized that there would be no more games to play. For the rest of his life he would be a spectator, a commentator, a "fan." No more desperate dashes with his back-to-the plate in the only plot of ground Frodo ever felt was his, center field. There are still times when Frodo would like one more afternoon, the way it used to be.
Politicians are a lot like athletes. They love the game, the thrill is never gone, and the "backroom" is like the "locker room." It is hard to let go of something so consuming. Just ask Joe Lieberman.
Lieberman professed that he was a great sports fan, and from that he had learned that the game is not over at half-time. Therefore, he reasoned, it was incumbent upon him to file as an Independent Candidate for re-election to a fourth term in the Senate of the United States. Unfortunately Joe has not yet realized that his best days as a politician are all behind him, and that he ran the risk of being the athlete who held on too long, and never acknowledged the dimunition of his effectiveness. He allowed his ego to supercede the needs of his teammates.
Recently, two old friends visited Frodo and Sam. One had been the pitcher and the other the left-fielder in the last game that Frodo played in center field. They reminded him of that last game, and how empty the fields are now without Frodo's chatter and winged feet in the alleys between right and left. They all laughed together when Frodo described his second-to-last at bat, when he took a high and tight pitch to deep center field which rolled far beyond the grasp of any fielder on the opposing team. Rounding third toward home, Frodo slipped and fell flat on his face only a few feet from home plate. As the startled opponents rallied and desperately tried to return the ball to the infield, Frodo crawled, on all fours, and miraculously slipped his hand onto home plate ahead of the catchers' tag. The stands, the players on both sides, and Frodo, erupted in laughter, and Frodo smiled with a grateful tear for what may have been his last hurrah.
Two innings later, the final inning, Frodo came to bat again, with his team trailing by a run. Everyone seemed to know that there was no more magic in that old bat he swung, and, silently, most were simply hoping that Frodo not make the last out. Frodo felt likewise. Frodo topped a ball into the ground into the hole between short and third, and he burst from the batter's box in one last sprint to first base. The shortstop fielded the ball cleanly, but lost his grip on the ball momentarily, and his throw to first was slightly off target. Frodo reached first on the shortstop's error. His friends and teammates applauded.
Moments like that are difficult to accept. Saying good-bye to a big part of Hobbit life is remembered first among all memories. Frodo feels for Joe Lieberman that he hasn't learned how to accept the applause, and to realize that even John Wayne knew when the last shot had been fired. It's never fair, but it is.