"We have a lousy team out in the field right now, but they’re singing in the stands. We have just about the worst ball club and the oldest park in the country. We have an exploding scoreboard in Comiskey Park. At first, they declared it illegal, immoral, fattening, terrible, too bush. (Laughs.) Funny how you pick things up. It came from reading Saroyan’s play The Time of Your Life. All took place in a saloon. There’s a pinball machine and the fella, he goes up to the bartender and he wants more nickels. He plays and plays, no luck; and just before the final curtain, he hits a winner. The bells rang and the flag went up and it played “Dixie” and all sorts of extravagant things. That’s what happens on our exploding scoreboard. Saroyan was sayin’ something: You keep tryin’ and tryin’, and finally you do hit a winner. You hope, you dream the guy’s gonna hit a homer. Suddenly he hits it. The rockets go off, the bombs burst in air. (Laughs.) The loser has his day.
"There is in all of us a competitive spirit, but winning has become life and death. We lose sight that it’s only a game. It’s a delightful game that is occasionally played by skillful men. Phil Wrigley once said that all you need is a winning club. It’s a damning comment. We all like winners, but winning without joy isn’t worth the candle. I hate to lose, but it’s not the end of the world. Tomorrow may be better. (Laughs.) I’m the guy at that pinball machine waiting for all those rockets to explode.”
“It is very difficult to say goodbye. God willing, I will be back next year. Over the years I have been blessed to have so many friends, including those that sit in the stands and listen, as well as those at home who listen and watch. It is just too hard to say goodbye to all these friends. Naturally there will come a time when I will have to say goodbye, but I’ve soul-searched and this is not the time.”—
“[The new home plate collision rule is] an awkward, awkward rule. Leave the game alone, man. Don’t try to change so many things. The game’s been for years like that and it’s been fun and nobody’s been complaining about it. Next thing you know, we’ve got instant replay, we’ve got not blocking the plate, all that kind of stuff. It’s kind of not fun anymore.”—
“Frank Thomas is the greatest hitter all-around. For batting average, for taking a walk, for not striking out, for hitting a three-run homer or a single to right field, or getting a hit in the first inning or the ninth inning, for getting a hit with the game on the line—oh, yeah, he’s the best hitter I’ve ever seen. And the greatest front-runner, too. If he’s got three hits, he’ll go to the plate for his fourth at bat and get another hit. Most guys have two or three hits and don’t bear down like that. Pete Rose was as intense going for his third or fourth hit. That’s Frank. Greedy bastards, they are.”—
“It is foolish and childish, on the face of it, to affiliate ourselves with anything so insignificant and patently contrived and commercially exploitative as a professional sports team, and the amused superiority and icy scorn that the non-fan directs at the sports nut (I know this look—I know it by heart) is understandable and almost unanswerable. Almost. What is left out of this calculation, it seems to me, is the business of caring—caring deeply and passionately, really caring—which is a capacity or an emotion that has almost gone out of our lives. And so it seems possible that we have come to a time when it no longer matters so much what the caring is about, how frail or foolish is the object of that concern, as long as the feeling itself can be saved. Naïveté—the infantile and ignoble joy that sends a grown man or woman to dancing and shouting with joy in the middle of the night over the haphazardous flight of a distant ball—seems a small price to pay for such a gift.”—Roger Angell, from “Agincourt and After” (1975)