The Republic and Baseball
I am writing in regards to Michael Brendan Dougherty’s “Why We Love the Game” (April 8). While pursuing a philosophy degree at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, I was fortunate enough to take classes in just-war theory from Professor Abigail Aguilar. What I will remember for the rest of my life is not her ability to cite page and paragraph of Locke’s Two Treatises or her devout Aristotelianism. Rather I will never forget her unflagging devotion to being in her season-ticket-holder seat at Cashman Field to watch every game played by the Las Vegas 51s — now defunct; then the AAA affiliate of the New York Mets.
I’ve been a fortunate, lifelong devotee of the game of baseball. I’m further fortunate that my three-year-old son would rather watch every inning of a Chicago Cubs game than any cartoon in the e-streaming Rolodex (and that one of my closest friends was playing his way up through that Mets farm system). But those academic souls at UNLV during my years there who did not begin their tenure as fans of the game were nevertheless beneficiaries of an open invite from Professor Aguilar to go and sit with her and learn about the game, about philosophy, and — most crucially — about how to be an upstanding citizen of the republic. Not just a citizen in the republic. This crucial difference was underscored on the day that I took another close friend to her first baseball game after she become an American citizen and she put mayonnaise on her hot dog.
It may have been lost on the others, but much appreciated by me, that those lessons came in the form of discussions of Plato against the backdrop of sinkers, dollar beers, and scoring games the old-fashioned way. Mr. Dougherty closed his article brilliantly, explaining that the Republic of Baseball lives on when our cheers become indistinguishable. I only wish to add that those indistinguishable cheers sound all the better when the voices behind them belong to the sort of individuals who, when the buzz dies down, resume the philosophical dialectic that made this republic great enough to invent a game like baseball in the first place.
Thank you, Mr. Dougherty. Thank you, Professor Aguilar. And thank you everyone who contributes to making baseball the greatest game in the world.
Tyrants Left and Right
Thank you very much for the review “Our Diderot,” by Algis Valiunas (April 22). Diderot lived when hereditary monarchies and the Holy Roman Empire were still vibrant. Another quote of his, taken in the context of the times, that especially shows his philosophical view of regal governments and religion: “Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.”
I think that sums up his understanding completely.
Albert P. Pacione Jr.
New York City
“Why Charles Krauthammer Matters” (by Matthew Continetti, April 4) spelled the maiden name of Krauthammer’s wife as “Tretheway”; the correct spelling is “Trethewey.” His mentor’s correct name was “Hermann Lisco,” not “Hemann Lesco.” And his father fled the Nazis after they invaded France, not the Soviet Union.