So there go the
records, too. Fifty years of records, set by baseball's nobility, are now
within reach of the multitude. A slugger aiming at Babe Ruth's mark will have
approximately 32 more times at bat than Ruth, or than the giants like
Greenberg, Foxx and Gehrig who challenged him closely. Pitchers who normally
win 18 games will now have a chance to win 20. It is a distinction that may
seem small, but the difference between a 19-game winner and a 20-game winner is
the difference between a commoner and a peer. Records for doubles, triples and
other feats will lose their meaning.
It is indeed as
Donne said, all in pieces, all coherence gone.
and what portents, what mutiny!"—to quote another poet who would have
understood the situation and its perils.
What raging of the
sea, shaking of earth,
Commotion in the winds, frights, changes, horrors,
Divert and crack, rend and deracinate
The unity and married calm of states
Quite from their fixtures!
Shakespeare three centuries ago, and that pretty well—in fact, very
well—describes what has happened to baseball and to my nerves. In modern idiom,
I got it bad and that ain't good.