Sunday, January 8, 2017


Source: Wall Street Journal
Saturday's snowy day in the Northeast lead to not only an early morning spin class but a trip to the movies with a good friend and Yankee fan.  We screened the movie Fences starring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, which depicts a series of impactful scenes, which include a juxtaposition between baseball and the decisions we make in life.  The story is set in the 1950s as a "monologue-heavy drama starring Washington as flawed patriarch Troy Maxson, a Pittsburgh garbage collector and former Negro League ballplayer, and Davis as Troy’s wife and homemaker Rose," reports the LA Times.  

According to the screenplay, "Troy was an excellent player in Negro league baseball in his younger days and continued practicing while in prison for an accidental murder he had committed during a robbery. Because the color barrier had not yet been broken in Major League Baseball, Troy was unable to get into that league to make good money or to save for the future."  It is no wonder why Troy is bitter and often uses the game of baseball to communicate life's challenges and failures or perhaps his own to his friends and family.

It is interesting to drill down to the basics of the game of baseball from its complicated and often complex statistics today to see how Denzel's character calls out parts of his life in simple terms like balls, strikes, stolen bases and home runs he blasted over the fences of the parks where he played.  I've known teachers and even leaders to use the language of baseball in their classes in an effort to better engage students in the learning and even Jimmy Fallon was able to teach math through his passion for the Boston Red Sox in the hit movie Fever Pitch.

I bring this all to light because as I watched Fences today, I couldn't help but think about how far we have come with regards to baseball and its impact on our life over the years.  It was so nostalgic to be listening to Washington, through his character Troy, talk passionately about Pittsburgh's Roberto Clemente and his son chime into the conversation with Dodger great Sandy Koufax all in the present tense.  Troy also talked about blasting home runs off of Negro League pitcher Satchel Paige and how baseball made you strong.

Through a series of narratives, Troy often uses baseball as a communication outlet for his decisions in life, his discipline of his high school-aged son and the ability he has to conquer death.  "Death ain't nothing but a fastball on the outside corner," he said.

Source: CBS Sports
As we enter this new year, it is important to note where we have come and where we are headed and the fences we have to jump over along the way.  We can all agree that the Yankees have a number of fences to leap over in 2017 including the barrier they have had in starting pitching and what I like to call long-distance hitting.  And by this I don't just mean the home run, I mean having enduring situational hitting throughout season, not just in short stints.  I know we are hopeful that Yankees are successful in leaping over their series of fences, but the reality is that much like Troy, we may just not be strong enough to face them all- at least this year.

--Suzie Pinstripe
BYB Managing Editor
Twitter: @suzieprof

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