NEW YORK — Considering that World Series games start about the time most children go to bed, we must admit that our kids will have no World Series memories. No game-winning homers to recall. No final-out catchers leaping into pitchers' arms. Why are we doing this to our kids? So the networks get higher ratings.
But kids need baseball memories. They need to dash home from school, sink into the couch next to Mom or Dad or Grandpa, gorge on junk food, and engage in glorious baseball jabber. This is what connects kids to the past.
Like millions of families, every morning during the playoffs and World Series, we watch TV highlights of the previous night's game. In doing so, we're inadvertently teaching our kids the wrong message: The summary is OK. But it's like reading Cliff Notes of "The Great Gatsby."
It's "Baseball Lite." Fans know that the in-between moments in baseball count. The foul tip that gives a batter new life and heightens the drama of anticipation. The thunderous homer is given meaning only by the continuum. It's a lot like life.
Last summer, at a national park in Michigan, I pointed to a sand dune and said, "This is where I listened to Bob Gibson's 17-strikeout game in 1968." I'm sure my story seemed from the time of the dinosaurs, but that's the point. What memories will my kids have?
James Douglas Barron is the author of 'She's Having a Baby - and I'm Having a Breakdown' (Quill/HarperCollins).