Notable & Quotable: July 12, 2017

Posted

The Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan on President Trump’s speech in Warsaw:

Near the top he deftly evoked John Paul’s 1979 visit and the sermon that brought on the chants. “A million Polish people did not ask for wealth. They did not ask for privilege. Instead, one million Poles sang three simple words: ‘We want God!’” He called the Polish people “the soul of Europe.”

It was a grown-up speech that said serious things. Article 5, the NATO mutual defense commitment, is still operative. Missile defense is necessary. He called out Russia for its “destabilizing activities.” He spoke as American presidents once did, in the traditional language of American leadership, with respect for alliances.

But he did it with a twist: The West is not just a political but a cultural entity worth fighting for. It is a real thing, has real and radical enemies and must be preserved.

A lovely passage: “We write symphonies. We pursue innovation. We celebrate our ancient heroes ... and always seek to explore and discover brand-new frontiers. We reward brilliance. We strive for excellence. ... We treasure the rule of law and protect the right to free speech and free expression. We empower women as pillars of our society and our success. ... And we debate everything. We challenge everything. We seek to know everything so that we can better know ourselves.”

If he talked like this at home, more of us would be happy to have him here. If he gives serious, thoughtful, prepared remarks only when traveling, he should travel more.

• • •

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts speaking at his son’s middle-school graduation, June 3:

From time to time in the years to come, I hope you will be treated unfairly, so that you will come to know the value of justice. I hope that you will suffer betrayal because that will teach you the importance of loyalty. Sorry to say, but I hope you will be lonely from time to time so that you don’t take friends for granted. I wish you bad luck, again, from time to time so that you will be conscious of the role of chance in life and understand that your success is not completely deserved and that the failure of others is not completely deserved either. And when you lose, as you will from time to time, I hope every now and then, your opponent will gloat over your failure. It is a way for you to understand the importance of sportsmanship. I hope you’ll be ignored so you know the importance of listening to others, and I hope you will have just enough pain to learn compassion. Whether I wish these things or not, they’re going to happen. And whether you benefit from them or not will depend upon your ability to see the message in your misfortunes.

• • •

In The New York Times, former Major Leaguer Doug Glanville asks, “What Makes (and Unmakes) an All-Star?”

I never was an All-Star, but I was on a few ballots. In both 1998 and 1999, when I was among the leaders in all of baseball in hits just before the break, my manager with the Phillies, Terry Francona, made a valiant effort to lobby the National League All-Star manager on my behalf. To no avail.

That was as close as I would ever get.

We often see All-Star status as a one-way flight to greatness, an indelible marker. But All-Star athletes deal with setbacks of all kinds that are no different from other players’ — injuries, demotions, performance decline. And it’s guaranteed that when All-Stars fall, they fall from much higher ground. Today, the toughest part of it may be that they do it in public: everything tweeted out, Facebook-posted, splashed on a web page, instantly Instagrammed.

A couple of months ago, I was part of the very public layoffs at ESPN, and I realize, more than ever, how my time in professional baseball helped me frame the bigger picture on the other side of any setback, especially when you are falling from the top of an industry. Just as I learned when the Yankees released me in 2005. Both experiences led me to take time out to examine what I learned from the ride, whether I appreciated my station when I stopped to take it in. That reflection only underscored the significance of the now.

In tonight’s game, we will witness the talents of those who perform in the rarefied air we often speak about when it comes to the few who reach the top of the top. They are in their moment. And maybe, if we are lucky, they will create an original and singular moment for all of us, the kind that happens when we watch the best outshine the best.

Notable & Quotable is compiled by Graham Osteen. Contact him at graham@theitem.com.