It took me four days to realize that baseball season is finally over. That’s understandable since the season that ended this week with Boston murdering the Rockies has been going since 1952. Seriously, if it had, who would notice? It’s baseball, after all, an unchanging continuum and the only professional game where some fans actually knit, the only game where players can eat while they’re playing, a game where leaning on the dugout fence has been elevated to an art form, a game that I miss like I already miss summer. Call it my yearly rage against darkness. Still, it’s true. When baseball ends, early-evening darkness descends and I hate it. Which can only mean that I hate the tilt of the Earth on its axis and love it when spring training forces Japanese reporters to stand in bitter cold outside Yankee Stadium to show Hideki Matsui that they are worthy of some future small attention. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.You got to love the Japanese for bringing their unyielding cultural imperatives to a game that was actually played between horrific battles during the American Civil War. In pictures and words, in the vast statistical archive of baseball, it is always summer and hot. We carry these images always, especially those who remember a time before kids played 10 different sports, when what you had between the end of school and the start of school was baseball. Or something like baseball with no umpires, no parents and 30 guys standing with their hands hooked in the tall chain-link along the first and third base lines saying terrible things about each batter’s sister in an effort to hurry the clock-free process and get their ups. You know, “Nicky, it’s your ups after Fat Dominic.” I spent summers like that, in the place where America came from, where it was born, along base lines and down in wood-floor, grass-smelling dugouts carved deeply with initials and obscenities. I frequently make far too much of this, of the game’s rich mythology, especially now when we’ve all noticed how the cynical owners use it to cover their tracks, to justify new ball parks and gloss over salaries that seem too big for talent so small. Still, it stands. This is what we have, the game and the game’s myth, what Joseph Campbell called “the secret opening through which the inexhaustible energies of the cosmos pour into human manifestation.” I believe that I am right in thinking that we still need both to help stabilize the shaky and brief history of a nation cut from whole cloth, a nation of human imports built on imperfect memory and Hollywood movies. Watch “Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo” to see how we came back after Pearl Harbor. Better yet, to understand this country, watch “The Pride of the Yankees,” a 1942 rendering of the life and death from ALS of the Iron Horse, Lou Gehrig. Filmed the year after his death at age 37, the film stars the legendary Gary Cooper and features the legendary Babe Ruth. It also elevates a baseball player to sainthood, following a singularly talented immigrant’s son from slums to the top of America’s game. Along the way he marries pretty Eleanor (played by pretty Teresa Wright) and hits two World Series home runs for an ailing little boy named Billy and, just when he had it all, he takes a fall like a champ. See him standing bent and diminished yet somehow taller than ever in Yankee Stadium on July 4, 1939, giving one of the greatest speeches ever delivered by an American, a speech that begins, “Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth.” What else do we need to know about striving and modesty, about talent, sportsmanship, courage, and goodness, about behaving like a real American and facing death without flinching? And that’s just one of the enduring myths of a game codified by Alexander Cartwright Jr. (not Abner Doubleday) in 1845 and played ever since on the same 90-foot diamond that has produced more heroes than any war. A game whose relics could cause grown men to stand awestruck and wet-eyed with young sons at a Cooperstown exhibit staged a few years ago at an L.A. museum. In glass cases were the gloves, bats, caps, balls and shoes touched by Shoeless Joe, Don Drysdale, Cy Young, Jackie Robinson and Reggie Jackson along with a curious sign hanging above a $2 million Honus Wagner card stating that all baseball memorabilia is essentially worthless except for the value we attach to it. So tell me, what’s the value of national identity and the value of summer itself? I want to hear your comments. Connect with me at [email protected], call 310-543-6681 or send a letter to Daily Breeze/John Bogert, 5215 Torrance Blvd., Torrance, CA. 90503-4077.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!