Tonawanda News

Columns

July 24, 2013

DUVALL: Tip of the cap to the real ballplayers

(Continued)

Tonawanda News — Eventually new evidence surfaced when Braun’s name turned up on a list of people owing money to the shady owner of a shady anti-aging center known in baseball circles to be a steroid dispensary. 

I’ve loved baseball since I was a boy. It’s the thinking sports fan’s game of choice. It has intellect, intrigue, power, grace and its own set of quirks that keep those who seek to explore its vast landscape interested for a lifetime. Ballplayers — not just guys who play baseball but real ballplayers — are fascinating creatures. They growl, grin and spit. They’re tough as nails but most of the time conduct themselves with all the seriousness and maturity of a 7-year-old. 

Don Mattingly was a ballplayer. Roberto Clemente and Hank Aaron were ballplayers. So were Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale and Bob Gibson. When I watch today’s players I see a handful of guys who will someday join that pantheon — Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina is top of mind.

Baseball fans revere these men.

And so I smiled Tuesday because Ryan Braun is not a ballplayer. He’s a guy who’s paid to play baseball.

This 2013 season has had its share of fascinating story lines. A youthful slugger in Baltimore we all pray isn’t doping, Chris Davis, is on pace to break what purists still call the single season home run record, set by Roger Maris at 61.

Thanks to the likes of Braun, Davis has had to confront questions about his success head-on. I smiled again when he refused to recognize Barry Bonds as the home run champ. When asked how many home runs it would take for him to consider himself the all-time single-season champ, he replies “62” — ignoring the gaudy 73 four-baggers Bonds slapped while on the juice.

Text Only
Columns
  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On lines blurred, crossed and nonexistent It strikes me more and more how blurry the lines have gotten in all facets of our world, large and small.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tucker, Barbara.jpg TUCKER: Oh, the joys of Sound Off Never thought the words "Thank goodness for Sound Off" would ever be printed here.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • adamczyk, ed.jpg ADAMCZYK: And now for something completely different... Last weekend I attended a local movie theater (a plushy, posh experience; they design these places now to get you out of your living room and away from your home electronics) to watch the sun set on the British Empire.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • wallace, amy.jpg WALLACE: Too much information? Is there such a thing as TMI or too much information anymore? Some might say yes.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On reading and the lack thereof It was surprising to me a few weeks ago when a friend asked a group of us to estimate how many books we have each read over the last five years. The English teacher said 200 and he far and away led the pack. I was probably the median and my number was 20-25.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • confer, bob.jpg CONFER: A Con-Con would be a con game

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: Conflict in Ukraine now a concern of global proportions It seems increasingly clear Ukrainian separatists, with the help from the Russian military, are responsible for the tragedy. They, of course, have denied it. They've also denied access to the crash site to international investigators seeking to recover the dead and determine what happened. That's not something the innocent party does.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADAMCZYK: Personal development, rendered in steel Accepting the premise that everyone needs to fill the same amount of time every day (24 hours, every day), some people use theirs rebuilding things, tangible things, and thus fulfill a few intangible goals.

    July 18, 2014

  • WALLACE: Festival season is underway Summer is the season of fairs and festivals. From Canal Fest in the Tonawandas to the Allentown Art Festival and Italian Heritage Festival in Buffalo to the Erie County Fair in Hamburg, the Western New York area has no shortage of things to do with the family over the summer.

    July 17, 2014

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: King George's abdication leaves many questions I've covered Niagara County politics for 10 years and it's been a fascinating -- and often infuriating -- experience. With the news the man known with equal parts respect and cynicism as "King George" is walking away it's about to get more interesting.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo