Monthly Archives: September 2019

Getting Real: Chapter 53 – Part 5

From my restful position, my eyes caught sight of the clock on the table, which registered at six thirty. A short impulse to panic subsided quickly as I realized no one would be pounding on my door this evening. As my eyes again closed to quiet repose, I envisioned the lineup cards being posted before the Opener in Cincinnati:

…………….. COLTS …… VS……. REDS…

1. Eddie Kasko—shortstop – Pete Rose—second base

2. Nellie Fox—second base – Chico Ruiz—third base

3. John Paciorek—center field – Vada Pinson—center field

4. Walt Bond—first base – Frank Robinson—right field

5. Rusty Staub—right field – Gordy Coleman—first base

6. Jim Wynn—left field – Bob Skinner—left field

7. Bob Aspromonte—third base – Johnny Edwards—catcher

8. John Bateman—catcher – Leo Cardenas—shortstop

9. Ken Johnson—pitcher – Jim Maloney—pitcher

Our Major-League team was breaking camp tomorrow, Sunday, April 12, a day before the first “real game.” It would give us a day to acclimate to the colder weather. Since spring training began in February, I had been anxious to make the team and be in the starting lineup for the opening game against the Reds. After a magnificent spring, the team and I were anxious to begin the regular season and see how long we could keep alive our “magical ride to the championship.”

The plane for Cincinnati took off at 10:00 am. As I watched the smiling faces of players who made the roster, I couldn’t help but empathize with those not present. They would continue their “training” with hopes that someday they would attain the status of a big-league player.

As I felt the swirling winds of time settling in on my present perspective, I could feel and see the plane ascending over the horizon, in its two-hour flight to the start of a new baseball season. All players would have the same new opportunity to begin again. How they prepared themselves yesterday would determine the success they’d find today and its tomorrow.

The joy of first-time big-league experience is the fulfillment of countless childhood dreams, imagining glorified moments of grandeur. Sustaining the moment will become the art of allowing the confidence-boosting high-vibrational impulses to flow by the highest level of frequency that each is presently capable of inducing.

The empty seat next to Steve’s would forever be my reminder of the sometimes harsh reality in “that world” outside of dreams. But a new realization, within the “real world,” would make it possible to now appreciate the “contrast.” Though it was once intimidating, now I will simply rise above any present dire circumstance to a higher perspective. There I will ultimately reap benefits from an expanded sense of mental and physical competency.

Monday’s game would begin at 1:00 pm. The lineups were announced and the “cards” presented to the umpires prior to the first pitch. It was without a sudden, unexpected sense of disappointment that one prominent name was unobtrusively replaced in the visiting team’s lineup. It would have been an unconscionable act of omission had the “world of dreams” maintained its credibility in the unimaginative “world of reality.”

…………COLTS……..………….. REDS

1. Eddie Kasko—shortstop – Pete Rose—second base

2. Nellie Fox—second base – Chico Ruiz—third base

3. Pete Runnels—first base – Vada Pinson—center field

4. Walt Bond—left field – Frank Robinson—right field

5. Rusty Staub—right field – Gordy Coleman—first base

6. Jim Wynn—center field – Bob Skinner—left field

7. Bob Aspromonte—third base – Johnny Edwards—catcher

8. John Bateman—catcher – Leo Cardenas—shortstop

9. Ken Johnson—pitcher – Jim Maloney—pitcher

Before fully awakening into the realm of present reality, I remembered the conclusion of that transcending day, as it highlighted a victorious new beginning for a team with which my fondest desire would have conspired to be an integral part— Colt .45s, 6; Reds, 3.

After the last vestige of gossamer filament removed itself from the lids of my imaginative time-space warp, my eyes opened widely to the brilliant expanse of a small but fortified study. With all necessary machinations of modern technology, the accoutrements for conducting a normal, daily regimen was fully in notice. It felt as though half dozen months had gone by, but the physical evidence showed that I simply had gone to sleep just twelve hours earlier.


Getting Real – Part 4!

Continuation of Chapter 53 of my Book, If I Knew Then What I Know Now!

Then a quiet voice from within the shadows spoke, “As any individual can make himself to become a ‘naturally’ good ‘player of the game’ through repetitive practice, he cannot be the ‘best hitter he could be’ unless he somehow attains the scientific understanding of the intricate details supporting the mechanism of swinging the bat properly.”

Silently, I found myself spontaneously agreeing with that profound statement. Then instinctively, I uttered, “Scientific understanding and application of the principle of batting will most certainly provide a batting competency that would supersede the level of proficiency of most batsmen. But without the supplementary metaphysical prerequisite to absolute application, maximum productivity would not be forthcoming, even in the ‘best’ of ‘good hitters.’”

Socrates smiled intuitively at Plato then, with unrestrained excitement, delivered his next statement in the direction of our “shadow image.”

“My protégé and I had contemplated a ‘trilateral’ collaboration with you since we first began the perusal of your voluminous works. We knew we’d eventually make your acquaintance but hardly could have imagined doing so under the auspices of such uniquely providential circumstances.”

Plato turned to the adjacent shadow, and his voice directed his message at me, “What better means of extrapolating the essence of one’s own inspired imagination than by utilizing his own genetic resources to produce the prototypical applicant for research and development?”

While mentally aligning the sentiments of Plato’s discourse, my mind glimpsed the import of the biblical expression, “The last shall be first, and the first, last!” Suspicions had pervaded my mental landscape but never accumulated enough concrete evidence to further my premature assumptions. Only within the nebulous framework of childish imagination could I have presumed such an improbable coincidence that would have connected me to J. F. P. It was even less likely to contrive such fantasy in the wildest of dreams.

But here I was, in a remarkably incoherent position of having to find legitimate reasons for disavowing the credible evidence that might validate why I appeared to be somewhat of an anomaly in a “time” not yet ready to accept a verification thereof. Could a person’s future change, or preclude, the events of his past to accommodate the actual good intentions he did have but did nothing to enhance his status at any other “present time”?

Could a person, the same person, have the mental facility to appropriate a physical reality that would consolidate more than one dimension of time? (Might forgiveness be truly defined by its literally expressed sentiment—to make happen that which preceded what would be effaced, thus “fore-give-ness”?) Could a mind, like that of Jesus, provide the mental faculties to activate a healing process for an adult with blindness when he/she was “born blind”?

Coming Soon – Part 5!

Getting Real – Part 3!

Continuation of Chapter 53 of my Book, If I Knew Then What I Know Now.

Through a transparent mist, a panoramic scope of a vast baseball history came into view. And I appeared to be in the company of not two but three other observers, with mutual admiration for the sporting activity we had become accustomed to enjoying as a game called baseball. Our endless journey would attempt to extract from hope the eternal promise of assurance that “becoming” eventuates into “true being.”

Perched high above the clamor of enthusiastic fanfare, Socrates, Plato, myself, and The Other—as restrained spectators—quietly engaged in a traditional dialogue about the nuances of the game. Our choices of viewing location varied along heavenly porches, upon the rooftop of any stadium that afforded prime viewing. There we would witness the glorious competition below, which triumphantly celebrated the athletic prowess of at least eighteen stellar performers in our midst.

In the relative solitude of our lofty perch, only the faintness of extraneous sound vaporized in its skyward trek. Our philosophical impressions were innocently conveyed to each other in summations that only acquiesced to the game’s simplistic appeal.

Plato sounded out the first volley of reasonable commentary with the words, “Sports fans, have we not been witnessing within the framework of organized athletics an activity which truly embodies the essence of divine intervention?” Socrates affirmatively replied with a nod but quickly asked, “How can such heavenly synchronization be conjoined to the conscious deployment of human intent?”

I thought of my days of youth—when my brother, friends, and I would swarm onto any grassy area of Lasky or Jayne Field and pitch four improvised bases down within the parameters of a diamond-shaped infield. We’d then start a game of baseball, whose customary “nine inning” time frame was circumvented to better accommodate a continuity preempted only by the setting sun.

If eight or nine players were on each team, all fields were fair. But most often we played with five or fewer on each side. These scenarios made it practical to designate one area of the field automatically “out” if the batter hit the ball there. That designated area was always the right field side, because no one we knew batted lefthanded. And all batters, therefore, unwittingly developed the tendency to “pull the ball” to left. (If we knew then what we would know later, we could have developed a strategy for hitting pitches away to the opposite field.)

Coming Soon: Part 4.

Getting Real – Part 2

From my Book, If I Knew Then What I Know Now:

As I lay on my back, hands clasped behind my head, while my eyes focused on the ceiling above, I thought, How could it be possible for me (or anyone) to perform at a higher level than that at which I had been performing? If I can reach an even “higher level,” would that not mean that “everyone” was capable? But would anyone even want to do what I am doing to perform at “peak proficiency”? I questioned myself.

I knew “they” would love to perform as I have been performing. But would they believe that they could do what I am doing (other than in their wildest dreams)? Could they recognize what it is they would have to do besides? “Many (all) would be called, but only few (if any) would be able to choose,” to paraphrase a thought stimulated by a biblical reference.

I wondered momentarily what was, or what would be, happening in the fields of martial arts and boxing as Bruce and Cassius make known the effects of higher standards in their respective realms of innovation. I guess time would tell!

I pondered my baseball future in this ultra-conservative arena of “slow-changing” sports-minded mentality. It would seem almost impossible for America’s pastime to quickly adapt to the metaphysical principles ascertained by Abraham and J. F. P., as well as their progenitors of sequentially enhanced thought. The ultimate promotion of highest skill-level development seems too distant in the future. Only Einstein (and I) might “imagine” an era when the speed of human thought might equal or surpass that of E=MC2 and provide a viable formula for baseball batting success unparalleled to anything in previous sports history.

While thoughts were swirling within my mind’s generating mechanism, inducing a constant stream of stimulating vibrational impulses, I felt an unusual sense of “ease.” My body gave the impression of weightlessness, as it seemed to carry itself beyond all present circumstances into an esoteric realm of infinite possibilities.

The first thought to stimulate inquiry was the recollection of a brief statement by the “second woman”—of A Course in Miracles—in my initial dream sequence: “You cannot reach heaven alone.” It seemed subtly intriguing at the time, but whose expanded meaning never registered until now. As in baseball, that heavenly state of championship quality cannot be reached in the aspiration of/for just one player. He must perceive that all his teammates are “there” with him. In heaven’s parlance, “he must see as God sees!” He can’t be in heaven without seeing his teammates there with him!

The momentum from that idea fostered a recollection of another intriguing essay of J. F. P. titled “Optimal Success Cannot Be Attained Independently.” Excerpts read as follows:

Barry Bonds was the greatest hitter in Baseball history. He had beaten Hank Aaron’s Home Run record, and was the only player in (out of) the Game who had the potential to be a perennial .400-hitter. He had been named Baseball’s Most Valuable Player 7 times, and had been a contender for “Sportsman of the year” and “person of the year” honors, at least on one occasion. Yet the ultimate quality of his successful career was diminished by the fact that his teams had never won the highest of honors, “World Series Championship.”

Why should that fact take anything away from the quality of his individual success? It doesn’t, but in exploring both the philosophical and spiritual contributors to highest expectation and achievement, it cannot be denied that had his team won the World Series, it would have been his “Crowning Achievement.”

History has shown that kings and power-mongers have been only minimally successful in the “long-run” because their constituencies didn’t seem to share a compatible sense of prestige and greatness. A leader is always appreciated as one who shines above the rest, with certain magnanimous qualities. But the atmosphere of godliness wears thin when his human vulnerability displays such unsavory characteristics as “hubris” and other forms of incivility. Lack of collective commitment, to serve only personal aggrandizement, usually renders the highest universal achievement unaffordable. A complete success would have to entail the fruition of the whole.

One who would be a true leader of a team is he whose exemplary physical and mental composition complies with the exact nature of “team spirit.” He would have to be the embodiment of those qualities that would inspire others to appreciate the intrinsic need for compatibility and cooperation to achieve a collective goal.

Barry Bonds definitively embodied those personal attributes (as did Alexander the Great) to inspire his teammates to their collectively highest glory! And he also appeared to have certain characteristics that would have inspired others to emulate his greatness. But, for him to have realized his ultimate-goal of capturing the World Series Crown, he would have had to thoroughly understand that each member of his team was as integral a part of that fabric of unity as he was. The tension of the finely knitted team-fabric must not exceed the delicate bounds of generously enthusiastic applause and constructive criticism, within a framework of genuinely compassionate camaraderie.

I absolutely concurred with everything the “author” implied about teamwork and team spirit. I would guess that the writer of A Course in Miracles would also agree. I believed that I had naturally embodied those sentiments in my own thoughts about my teammates and their progressive climbs toward ultimate proficiency. My own constant inspiration was to do my best, and I had hoped that theirs would be the same.

Coming Soon: Part 3!

CHAPTER 53 – Getting Real! Part 1.

From my Book, If I Knew Then What I Know Now:

After the team’s final 1964 spring training game, most sports reporters were clamoring around me. Even those who were interviewing my teammates were asking what they thought about my performance. I told the reporters that I had simply lived up to my highest expectations for this particular day. And I felt that my teammates had done the same! “If you thought I performed well today, let’s wait and see if I can perform in a similar fashion when the real games begin in two days,” I told them. But I thought to myself, Is it even possible to have a better game than today’s? If not, what would be the next logical conclusion? If the darkest hour always precedes the dawning of the new light, then when its brilliance comes to full effulgence, does it not seem reasonable to presume that “one’s finest hour should prefigure some form of impending gloom? Could greatness be sustained within the grasp of hubris? As I pondered the ramifications of greatness, I remembered Socrates reading a short essay by J. F. P. It read as follows:

Greatness is a humanly exaggerated or a spiritually magnified sense of being. To be extolled with greatness, one must step up above one’s peers, beyond the casualness of conformity, into the altitude of “Uniqueness,” wherein the atmosphere of Soul the inspiration of life a lesser man cannot inhale. The greatest man that ever walked the earth was once asked by his disciples, “Who is the greatest among us?” At one time, he told them that “. . . of a man born of a woman, none was greater than John the Baptist. Albeit, he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” Later, he answered by taking a little child and placing him/her in their midst and saying, “. . . of such is the kingdom of heaven. He who would be greatest among you, let him humble himself and become as a little child.”

Arriving at my room, I immediately sat at my bedside and pondered the succession of wonderful incidents that took place during today’s game. I realized that I had reached that point in my brief career that had surpassed the highest expectations of anyone who had previously played the game of baseball. Not long ago, it would have satisfied my greatest aspirations to merely progress to a point of making it onto a “big-league” baseball team. For a player to hit the ball hard every time he swung his bat would certainly be a high accomplishment, worthy of admiration. And to be one of nine or twenty-five or forty players to play a pivotal role in establishing a championship team would be cause to generate a sense of pride that might override any previous personal accomplishment or disappointment. But what I did today went beyond what I, or anyone, could have expected of a baseball player. The strange sequence of events occurring over the past six months had set into motion what easily could have been considered a “paradigm shift.” It had affected me in a way that could not be totally appreciated nor understood by those with whom I was presently sharing my physical reality. I seemed to have become an enigma, as a player who is living in an era not yet ready to comply with such new standard of technological enhancement. Such criteria might impose itself as being the vanguard to advanced baseball ingenuity and prosperity. Where and how do I fit into this dimension of extreme athletic proficiency?

My thoughts immediately recalled Plato’s reading, from J. F. P.’s essay, the subsequent verses to “Baseball’s Glory”:
The game of Baseball will eventually receive a “facelift” that inevitably will introduce a new paradigm into the minds and hearts of modern baseball enthusiasts. A new story of America’s beloved pastime is at the point of superseding the original model. The beauty and grandeur of a glorious past will soon reinvent itself in a form suitable to days immemorial. In Baseball, the singular concepts of individual and collective (team) excellence are intertwined masterfully. The proficiency of each player on offense and on defense will determine his individual worth. And the excellence towards which he strives for himself and his team will endear him to his mates and adoring fans. As each player accomplishes his own mastery, the team itself should be beneficiary of a collectively successful enterprise. And each player should also become beneficiary to the collective worth of the team.

Baseball’s enduring attributes, to all levels of civilized society, are those which foster relevance to equal opportunity for the individual, and a sense of genuine contribution to a collective effort. These afford respect that cannot be diminished by an insignificant standard to a presumably less significant status. Every player in a line-up bats. And, every position is held equally accountable for mental and physical errors. The standard is the same for all players! What can be a fairer way of evaluating performance? Is there any other arena for “Sports” that epitomizes the universal “American Experience” more than that displayed on Baseball’s level field of play? In Baseball, the adage, “one for all, and all for one,” rings true in the hearts and minds of these “9 Musketeers,” with their collectively idealistic sense of purpose.

What other sport besides Baseball involves so many individuals in a collective endeavor? All have equal opportunities to be exalted to the full range of glory. They all play positions where equality of skill cannot be differentiated for maximum results. Size is never a preponderant factor. And, potentially, remuneration for services should never alienate players, or create team dissension?

Except for what could be considered brief lapses in moral consciousness (early segregationist issues, and its latter insidious bout with steroid controversy), the level playing field of Baseball has remained virtually intact. Its pristine elements are continually being unfolded. (Even the latest “Steroid Controversies” that have stirred up a hornet’s nest will ultimately subside, and the game will resume, but with a renewed sense of moral legitimacy.)

The world has fast become a theatrical stage for public sentiment to display both outrageous and benevolent characterizations of humanity. A universal demand for the highest possible standard of excellence should be embodied by those who would be model-heroes for aspiring youth. Bickering over the trivialities concerning absurd compensatory packaging, and equating successful performance levels to the artificial inflation of one’s artistic potential, are two areas where public scrutiny will exhibit least toleration, even toward heroes. Once Baseball has cleaned up its Act, on Steroid Controversy, and engages itself with its ever-expanding dilemma involving inequitable player compensation, then the certainty of its utopian appeal will be more in evidence. Until then, while Baseball is still America’s endearing National Pastime, it certainly holds the prospect of being embraced universally.

Coming Soon: Part 2!