That's manager Charlie Brown, star of funny paper, television and pitcher's mound, guilelessly emerging out of the middle distance. And though for a moment there he had a glimmer of hope, everybody else knows he and his teammates are in for another 123-0 clobbering. But so what if wishy-washy nice guys like Charlie finish last? Good grief! Winning isn't everything. A person can still reap the rewards of playing the game—a game which is for the "Peanuts" crowd a kind of nine-inning life: holding for Charlie Brown, for example, the terrifying ups of a fungo ball and offering to Snoopy, that catcher in the wry, the exhilarating downs of a pop fly.
For Manager Brown, getting along is making do with the material at hand—of which the best is schizophrenic Snoopy, who sometimes imagines he is an alligator but steals second base like a lion. A second worthy principle is tolerance. It is horrible, sure, to see easy fly balls muffed, but horribler yet to muff them yourself.
Security is having a good infield behind you, Charlie said once, and while Linus is a deft glove man, he is uncommonly slow.
A good manager must accept criticism, and Charlie has ample opportunity to display this virtue—thanks to Lucy.
"Humor which does not say anything is worthless humor," Charles Schulz, the creator of "Peanuts," has written, and to some extent the humor in the strip is a reflection of Schulz's boyhood in Minnesota. "I would never be able to sleep the night before a big game," he says, and what else could be keeping Charlie Brown on the edge of his bed? Things did not go very well this day, it is true, but tomorrow—who can tell about that? "I once pitched a no-hit, no-run game," says Schulz, savoring that childhood memory, and if that could happen in the real life of the creator, is it asking too much that it someday happen in the life of the creation?
Artwork from "Charlie Brown's All-Stars," a Lee Mendelson-Bill Melendez production