With all of the noise made at the start of Spring Training regarding the new hats Major League Baseball is making all of the teams wear, there is one uniform accessory which is getting little notice in the press. This is due in part because the regular season hasn't started yet. When it does, everyone will notice the black arm bands worn by all members of the New York Yankees in honor of the late Cory Lidle.
These arm bands, to be worn for the duration of the season are important because they illustrate the humanity that ultimately is the game. We all focus on the steroids, the payrolls, contracts, statistics, merchandising, records, rule changes, and assorted other subjects which smear the lens through which we view this beloved sport. At the end of the day, the men playing baseball are human beings. Cory Lidle died tragically, and he left behind a family. ESPN.com reports that negotiations are underway between the Yankees and Lidle's widow where she would throw the ceremonial first pitch on opening day. That’s a classy move on the Yankee's part. Lidle's number won't be retired, and he only played with the team for a few months, but his memory will be treated with respect and humanity by the team.
Baseball is a lot of things: a game, a business, a profession, and a part of history. When baseball loses one of it's own, gestures like the ones offered for Cory Lidle by the Yankees validates the goodness and innocence of this game which grows it's fan base from childhood, from when the first time a little kid puts on a hat and a glove and says "Play ball."