Sportscaster Bryant Gumbel once said, “The other sports are just sports. Baseball is a love.”
Transylvania rising senior Cory Collins, a former player and lover of the game, has decided to take this May Term to write a book on baseball in hopes of rediscovering this “love.”
“My goal is to, in a sense, redefine the way we look at baseball players and raise awareness about the actual people behind the names on the jerseys, the big dollars, and the wins and losses,” said Collins.
One of the main reasons behind piecing this book together was to uncover the human narrative.
“I’ve always been drawn to the stories untold and the journeys that underlie the faces we see before us. I felt like those narratives were completely missing from modern coverage of baseball,” said Collins. “I want to help change that way of reporting. So this was my idea for throwing a stone, that in a perfect world, would at least cause a small ripple effect.”
Collins’ first step was to head back home to “rediscover why baseball had once meant so much to me as a child and player. It’s basically been an exercise in finding myself and my relationship to the game. I think I’d lost touch with why I’d grown to love baseball so much, or why I’d gone through so much to play it all those years.”
His time at home proved to be useful because it helped to shape the themes within his book.
“Talking to the kids and hearing their accidently profound reasons for loving baseball has helped me to see the themes that will carry the rest of the book, and more precisely frame the questions I need to ask these players who now do it for a paycheck,” said Collins.
With the rise in dependence on technology, Collins believes the true essence of the game has been “lost in translation.” He is traveling around the state of Kentucky to discover the untold stories of the game.
“I think modern media and modern obsession with statistics has created a distance between fan and player, and subsequently, we’ve lost the stories. That’s why I’m talking to minor league players, as well as children of the game,” said Collins. “I’m hoping to illuminate some unique stories that prove the ‘love of the game’ hasn’t gone extinct.”
The next leg of his trip is in Louisville where he will be covering the Louisville Bats’ 8-game homestand. During his time there he will interview catcher Corky Miller, first baseman Neftali Soto, and third baseman Chris Valaika.
“My hope is that, from this experience, I’ll be able to retell and give to the baseball world three amazing stories of what baseball means to these guys,” said Collins. “I truly believe that behind any player that makes it to this level, stories of perseverance, triumph, and love for the game must be present.”
An early highlight on his trip to Louisville was his opportunity to sit down with the manager of the Bats, David Bell, who played in the Major Leagues for 12 years.
“I’m just trying to adapt to the opportunities I’m given,” said Collins. “Being able to walk in the clubhouse, the dugouts, and the locker rooms… it’s kind of unreal… something I always dreamed of in a much different way as a kid.”
With such a unique experience, Collins hopes to gain a better understanding of himself and the game.
“Immersing myself within the game brought that child back into my heart, and it’s been extremely rewarding to have those romantic feelings again,” said Collins. “Going forward, I hope to continue discovering more about what makes this the greatest sport in the country.”
Collins also hopes to have a more practical approach to this experience.
Rising senior Cory Collins took May term to rediscover the game of baseball and write a book on his findings.
“I hope I’ll come away from this daunting task as a more promising talent in the field of sports writing, and a better person for having heard more voices of humanity,” said Collins.
“Baseball is a sport I love, but I fear that the magic of what once made it America’s pastime has been lost in the last decade, or so,” said Collins. “Consider this my small, modest attempt to recapture that magic.”
Collins will serve as The Rambler’s Sports Editor for the 2012-2013 publication year.