When I was 12 years old the Dodgers were still in Brooklyn. Why this mattered to me, growing up in South Alabama, I don't really know. But I and my friends listened to the World Series on the radio, and my best friends and I adored "Dem Bums" even though they had a way of losing. They had an extraordinary lineup of players, and when they won, they won big, and when they lost it broke our hearts. I got used to people like Mickey Mantle hitting home runs against them, but the day Duke Snyder made that catch in center field, clinching the game for us, I declared him once and for all "my favorite Brooklyn Dodger."
I think Bernie Sanders has some of the same appeal. His followers like the way he plays the game even if his batting average is less than a thousand. They like his rough exterior, and they know he has enough heart for a whole world series.
There was a Bernie Clean Air Rally in my town Saturday afternoon. I joined my daughter (age 53) there and we were joined by her 21-year-old son. It was a remarkable event. Probably 2,000 people showed up. There was music, there were brilliant speakers, and even my cynical grandson came away exhilarated. The talk was all about Bernie's stands on the environment--climate change, clean water, fracking and other issues such as Native American rights. There was a dynamic young black emcee, a Cherokee woman who talked about how she and her tribe had been welcomed into the Sanders camp, Bill McKibbon joined us by video, and a few other women, including a local environmental activist, roused us like cheerleaders as we all waved signs and occasionally screamed with joy. I had never attended anything like it. It was clear that, even if Bernie doesn't win New York State, he is the leader of a movement that will not be over when the election is decided. There is too much to be done, and too many with the energy to let it pass once again.
The next morning I saw a 30-second clip of the event on local television, and a passing mention of the rally. That evening there was coverage of a rally for Hillary Clinton, with interviews with Cecile Richards, looking listless and weary and imploring the audience not to allow the Republicans to undo the work of Planned Parenthood. The camera scanned the crowd which looked to be fewer than 20 people. All those interviewed appeared dreary and cynical. Then the announcer said, "Bernie Sanders also had a rally here on Saturday."
It's pretty clear this race is almost over. The Dodgers are about to leave Brooklyn (by the way, when the Dodgers did leave Brooklyn I lost all interest in baseball). But this one is going to have a different ending.