I finally picked up a copy of Jim Bouton's masterpiece, Ball Four; his chronicles as a member of the 1968 Seattle Pilots. In a day and a half, I've whipped through half the book's 465 pages. It's everything I was told it would be.
On this fine Christmas day, allow me to share with you a short passage that struck close to home:
"I am, of course, an optimist. Each year I'm certain I'm going to be great again. Every winter I get a questionnaire from Sport magazine on picking the pennant races and I always pick myself as Comeback of the Year. Each year I believe it. Each winter I pay a college kid $5 three nights a week to catch me in a gym. Each year I'm certain."And here I go again. I'm more positive than ever. My arm feels great. I've made the ballclub. I'm starting to throw like I used to throw, and I'm thinking I'll be a reliever for a while and then I'll do well in long relief and get a spot start now and then. Then I'll complete a ballgame and along around June they're going to stick me into the rotation and I'm going to wind up winning a flock of games, just like I did when I first came up to the Yankees. I see the team doing real well and I see me as one of the keys to our success. I see myself as one of the reasons we might finish third or fourth, I see myself as a goddam hero. That's what an optimist is, isn't it? A goddam hero."
Jim Bouton. My kind of guy.
Merry Christmas, and Happy Halladays, to you and yours. Cheers.