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Notes To The Children's Children's Children's...From G-Pa Cliff
New York, NY, Tuesday, October 20, 2004--

Beware The Baseball Beast Of Terror: He Lurks In The Stands, Fangs Sharpened


Dear Children's Children's Children...                          Oct. 20, 2004

Man, I hate to scare you.

But I have to!

Beware the baseball stadiums. There are Beasts of Terror lurking in them, hiding behind Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe Dimaggio, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Thurmon Munson -- and all the best of the best.

Last night I was watching the Boston Red Sox playing the New York Yankees in a fierce battle for the right to play in the World Series. It looked bad for the Yankees. Boston was coming on strong, tying up the series with a 3-3 win and forcing the first playoff for any team that came from behind three games.

The Yankees swept the Red Sox in the first three games, and only had one to win to be the best out of seven games. But then the Yankees let up--became Complacent--and the Beast of Baseball Terror began to rule--at least in the Yankee dugout.

Riot police were called in for the safty of the teams and umpires
Riot police were called in for the safety of the teams and umpires

Next thing you know, kids, grown men and women are throwing baseballs down at umpires and players from the stands, hurling them like missiles at players who earn tens of millions of dollars, as well as at umpires who call players safe and out.

The Baseball Beast of Terror erupted inside them, like some poison inside their veins. They grabbed anything and threw it down, trying to hit people on the field during the eighth inning.

More than 200 riot police stormed the field. They looked like they were fighting some wild Terrorists because they had shields and face masks, and big batons and flack jackets.

The baseball players and umpires left the field, fearful someone would throw and hit them with a bottle or ball, injuring them so they couldn't play or officiate.

Kids, it was ugly.

What was ugly about it was just a few days ago (Oct. 5) I wrote a story about how I thought the Presidential debates were childish and immature name-calling bouts. (Why The Beast Of Terror Will Be Watching The Political Debates Rather Than The World Series)

I felt if a child watched the debates and heard grown men calling each other liars, cheats and thieves it would detract from the image of a leader--especially a moral leader like the President or future one of the United States.

Pitcher Curt Schilling, an example of a player rising to the occasion
Pitcher Curt Schilling, an example of a player rising to the occasion

From a false sense of paternalism, I promoted to you kids how watching the Yankees and Red Sox play was far better, because sports players rose to the occasion, and played straight and fair, competing only against their own personal bests, and seeking to win because of their skill and talent rather than preying on the weaknesses of others to rise to the top.

Last night shattered all those illusions.

One of the Yankee players slapped a ball out of a pitcher's glove, an obvious illegal act of interference hoping that no one--none of the millions of viewers or six umpires or more than 50,000 fans watching the game live--would see he knocked the ball out of the glove intentionally.

Terror at First Base:
Terror at First Base:  Yankee base runner slapping a ball out of a Red Sox pitcher's glove
Yankee base runner slapping a ball out of a Red Sox pitcher's glove

What happened, kids, is the people I was promoting to you as being the "good guys" turned out to be the "bad guys" for the moment. It became a toss up about sportsmanship--who was worse? The fans and players in baseball or the Presidential debate players?

Vigilance is about keeping our Courage stronger than our Fear, our Conviction healthier than our Intimidation, and the energy to take the Right Actions for future generations flexed so we don't fall into the quagmire of Complacency and just give in or give up to our Beasts of Terror.

Last night, a bunch of fans at Yankee stadium became Beasts. Not everyone did, kids, just some. But what was bad about it was the fans next to them let them throw the balls and bottles and other trash.

Last night a bunch of fans became Beasts
Last night a bunch of fans became Beasts

You can't stand by and let others endanger others.

That's as bad as throwing things yourself, maybe worse.

Ultimately, what stopped the madness was the presence of riot police with clubs threatening the unruly in the crowd. Of course, what could 200 police do against 50,000 fans? Realistically, not much.

But, they did quell the crowd.

And I wondered about you kids. How could I tell you kids to watch the Yankees rather than the Presidential debates when the Yankees and Red Sox were acting just as bad--or, at least their fans were?

What I should have told you to do is to watch for the ever-present Beast of Terror in both areas, and to have your Sentinelsl of Vigilance ready to battle the Beast when and if he stuck up his ugly head full of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency.

We must try to swing...
We must try to swing...

I forgot, kids, life is like a game. We all get thrown curve balls, breakers, change ups, sinkers, fast balls and often we just stand at the plate looking at the pitch go by, wondering why we didn't even swing the bat.

Nobody bats 1.000 kids. That's perfection. It may be a worthy goal to seek, but to feel bad because you don't achieve it, that's not right.

...the Bat of Vigilance
... the Bat of Vigilance

But, swinging the Bat of Vigilance at every pitch is okay. If we're keeping Courage, Conviction and Right Actions for the Children's Children's Children at the top of our minds, then we're not afraid to swing our Bat of Vigilance at any ball coming our way.

Last night, that didn't happen.

Last night, the Bat of Vigilance was broken, splintered, smashed by the Terror Ball.

For a few minutes I watched my beautiful game of baseball crumble into a pile of Terror Beasts, not much different than any war-torn street in any third-world country where violence commands.

The debris was swept away quickly by grounds crews. Eventually, the riot police left the field. Order was restored.

But the price of that order was expensive.

The Pledge of Vigilance will help ward off the Beast of Baseball Terror
The Pledge of Vigilance will help ward off the Beast of Baseball Terror

Many, like myself, who found a respite from Terrorism in baseball, were reminded that the Beast of Terror lurks just about everywhere, and to let down one's guard and presume that Beast doesn't exist is nothing more than Complacency.

That's why tonight when I watch the Yankees and Red Sox play for the right to compete in the World Series, I'm going to take my Pledge of Vigilance before the game starts.

It will remind me to fight off the Beast of Baseball Terror--if and when it raises its ugly head again.

For you, kids, the lesson is: "Don't leave home without your Pledge of Vigilance!" And, when you are home, keep it close by. You never know where the Beast might leap next.


Go To Yesterday's Story: October 19, 2004
The Politics Of Fear: Have The Parents Abandoned The Child?



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