To swing a big stick

We, every one of us, are what we are today because of one stupendous game. You don’t even have to like the game. You needn’t ever have even played it. Not on a field, not in a stadium, not in the backyard, not on a mobile device, a Wii stick, nor with an oak twig and an acorn. You may not enjoy the myriad rituals surrounding the game: the anthems, the jumbotron, or keeping perfect stats in the program. You may not hanker for hot bagged peanuts, cold beer, or mystery-orange nacho sauce. But you should appreciate the fact that we, as a species, are capable of playing baseball. It’s there for us. We’d miss it if it was gone, like we’d miss a hand if we didn’t have one.

The hand’s ability to throw, to scoop, to catch, to signal, its capacity to telescope the arm outward with a stick, and thereby increase the force of a blow; all these skills allowed prehistoric humans to come down out of the trees, to roam and hunt upright, to forage new environments, to develop a brain intelligent enough to savor the delicious illusion of a curveball. And the hand owes its abilities — to throw, to scoop, to catch, to signal, and to swing a big stick — to its primary digit.

 
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