For the game

HE looked awfully somber sitting on the bench after the game while his Little League manager found fault with the team's play. There's plenty to be critical of when your team scores 5 runs and theirs scores 26. Especially when it's the ninth loss in nine tries.

But later as he wolfed down supper the nine-year-old looked happier. Even though his team had lost, he said, he had had fun: ``I always have fun playing baseball.'' Besides, he bubbled excitedly, he had gotten his first hit of the season. After nine games. A grounder that dribbled weakly into center field.

The second Babe Ruth he probably isn't. But he's something more important: a youngster with the perspective more adults should have. Like anyone else he would prefer to win. Yet he already knows that the reason to play baseball is not to shred the other team, but to have fun while playing. A game is, after all, a game.

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