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Littlefield: Changing Places

This article is more than 11 years old.

The NBA and NHL playoffs, Major League Baseball and the NFL draft: all the stuff of a sports fan's wildest dreams.

Many would change places with their favorite athlete. But that switch could come at a cost, cautions WBUR'S sports commentator Bill Littlefield.

Audio for this story will be available on WBUR's web site later today.

TEXT OF COMMENTARY:

The shortstop's lately worried that the U.S. won't allow
His young wife's younger brother, who arrived here on a scow,
To immigrate, 'cause lately, as I'm sure you've come to know
A lot of people think each new arrival's gotta go,
No matter why he's coming or from where he may have come...
Be he the shortstop's relative, or be he just a bum.

The pitcher's in some pictures that a girl from L.A. took.
He doesn't know her last name, but she's really got him shook...
She says she's gonna sell the snaps to People Magazine;
The pitcher can't remember much, but from the stuff he's seen,
He knows his wife won't like 'em, or at least that's what he thinks...
He's pretty sure it's not just him and that girl having drinks.

The end who caught the pass that won a playoff game last season
Would probably be happy still, except he has a reason
To worry that he may not ever catch another ball...
His broke his hand the night he wrecked his car, and that's not all...
The doctor gave him pills when they put pins into his thumb,
And now he finds that he can't sleep without them, and it's numb...
And, man, it's hard to catch a ball with one hand you can't feel.

His contract isn't guaranteed, and here's the lousy deal:
Suppose he is disabled? See, the league is gonna say
You broke your hand in May, my friend, and we ain't gonna pay.
That wouldn't so bad except what is this guy to do?
He never graduated from the college where they knew
That all he'd done in high school was play football like a pro,
And once his playing days are done, where does the player go?

The coach has learned that tension may explode his aging heart,
But when you've coached for thirty years, it's pretty hard to start
Relaxing on the sideline, when you've always paced and screamed...
And how's he gonna be less tense on nights his guys get creamed?
He's growing daily further from the players who don't age.
He lies awake in his hotel and, lonely, tries to gage
How things might have been different if his job did not depend
On giant children playing a game. His marriage...did it end
Because he was so much away from home and from his wife?
"Too late," he thinks, and tosses. This is, after all, his life.

The games and those who play them are made glossy by TV.
But if you would trade places with the stars, if you would be
A shortstop or a pitcher or a coach or some tight end,
You're gonna buy the package, not the wrapping paper, friend.

This program aired on April 24, 2008. The audio for this program is not available.

Bill Littlefield Twitter Host, Only A Game
Bill Littlefield was the host of Only A Game from 1993 until 2018.

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