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21 August 2013

We're in that twilight zone where some kids have started school and the rest are enjoying the end of summer. Two of our nephews in the latter camp dropped in for a visit and we made the rounds, including McCovey Cove. His 521 homers as a lefty are still the National League record. Because right field was his front porch, we explained, the end of Mission Creek over the right field wall was christened McCovey Cove.

McCovey. Some stars don't need darkness to impress us.

The statue of Willie Mays, who has his own plaza at the main gate to the stadium, is also larger than life, although the more you know about the man, the closer the comparison comes. We'd have to call it a tie, if not give the edge to the real man. We pointed out to the kids (who don't appreciate Los Angeles as much as they should) the quote by the Los Angeles Times' Jim Murray on Mays' statue. "He should play in handcuffs to even things out a bit."

Celebrating these accomplishments, though, doesn't change the nature of the sport. Baseball is a game of failure where even the heroes blow it two out of three times.

You never see his teammates berate the guy who just grounded out into an inning-ending double play. They've not only been there but they'll be there again. And the guys in the stands, who can only wish they were there, cheer the guys on the field because when it comes to failure, nobody's a stranger.

Kids have a different perspective, of course. They know who should be sent down to the minors, who traded, who put out to pasture. They know whose jersey they want to buy at the Dugout Store. And they hate school.

But if you want to have some Jim Murray write flattering prose about you one day, you step up to the plate and take your swings. You open the books, you take the tests.

And one day, maybe like Mays, you care for your wife long after she forgot who you are, your fame not withstanding. You keep your eye on the ball. On the stuff that really matters.

You have, in short, what we call the right perspective.

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