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Monday Night Madden
After the Ball
This is an opportunity to be bigger men and not petty by splitting the proceeds from the ball. I suggest Patrick Hayashi and Alex Popov read The Pearl, by John Steinbeck, in which a man finds a perfect pearl, but due to his greed and the desire of others to possess it, all that was valuable to him is lost.
During my first year as a high school English teacher, in 2001-02, the students in my contemporary literature class were privileged to read two Gary Smith stories—Shadow of a Nation (Feb. 18, 1991) and The Chosen One (Nov. 5, 2001). Since I have read The Ball, I desperately want them to study a third. Smith's stories transcend sports and cut to the core of modern America. Before I was an English teacher I was a sportswriter. Now I feel even better about my decision to give up that career. No one can compete with Smith.
I wish that Barry had hit the ball during a road game in Chicago, with Harry Carats voice saying, "it might be, it could be, it is!" And as Barry trotts around the bases, completing the circuit of his 73rd home run, the die-hard Cubs fan tosses the ball back on the field. After all, it was hit by a member of the opposing team, and baseball has its traditions.
Popov and Hayashi were the biggest losers on that wonderful October day. Instead of going to the game with the anticipation of experiencing an important moment in sports history, they went to the game motivated simply by their selfishness and greed. These two men didn't rob each other; they robbed themselves.
I felt nauseated after reading about Popov's and Hayashi's attempts to justify fighting over a baseball by calling on the ghosts of their dead parents and grandparents. This isn't about racism or world war—it's about greed.
I did not subscribe to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED to read about fans, lawyers and witnesses bickering over millions of dollars or to listen to their pathetic attempts to justify it to the public. I subscribed to SI to read about athletes, agents and owners bickering over millions of dollars and to listen to their pathetic attempts to justify it to the public.