Celebrating Boston Red Sox baseball great Carl Yastrzemski.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Cone of Uncertainty

University of Hawaii professor R.W. Burniske ruminates on his battle with cancer through a Red Sox prism in this affecting Honolulu Star-Bulletin piece. Be well, friend.

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    My introduction to uncertainty began as an undergraduate, when I suffered an existentialist professor who claimed, "Ambiguity is perfectly precise; only the immature mind craves detail." Easy for him to say; he wasn't a Red Sox fan. My immaturity had long manifested itself in a craving for the details of a box score. That began when I was a Little Leaguer growing up in western Massachusetts; I made my first trip to Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox, during the summer of '67.

    I grew up in a farm town that featured no stoplights at the intersections most frequented by its 3,000 citizens. There seemed to be more people than that in Section 33 at Fenway, where I sat with our group of howling Little Leaguers that afternoon. We perched atop the left-field grandstands, just a few feet from the Green Monster, a 37-foot wall that prevents line drives from leaving the premises.

    Beneath me, my boyhood idol, Carl Yastrzemski, played catch with the centerfielder. I couldn't take my eyes off the scarlet "8" emblazoned across his back. When "Yaz" came to bat in the bottom of the first inning he launched a high parabola toward the left-field corner. The ball bounced off the top of the wall and plopped softly into a large net behind it. A thunderous ovation erupted, literally shaking the old ballpark, while I sat open-mouthed, staring at a baseball resting blissfully in a safety net that had suspended its journey less than 20 feet from where I sat.

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