THE FALL CLASSIC, to use a term no less worthy for being overdone by some of the broadcasters, did not end the way we had hoped and believed it would. Pittsburgh's Pirates had too much heart and too much power -- and too many runs -- for Baltimore's Orioles. Even the cheering by the fans of two cities -- each of which craves the Orioles as "its" team -- was not enough to intimidate the Pirates in those final two games.
From the Orioles' viewpoint, the less said about those games, the better. Their hitters didn't hit when the chips were down. While their starting pitchers performed well, the help called in from the bullpen was, to be kind, inadequate. So was -- and this is being very kind -- the fielding of a team that had distinguished itself in this category in the past.
The Pirates, on the other hand, were magnificent. It was thrilling, it was inevitable that the coup de grace was delivered by the team's old man, Wilver Stargell. Seldom has a player so caught the fancy of foes as well as fans as did this 38-year-old bear of a man in whose manner the childhood joy of simply playing well still shines through. Unlike most professional athletes, Mr. Stargell personifies that old saying, "To win the game is great, to play the game is greater, to love the game is greatest." He is a living antidote to that all-too-prevalent philosophy that winning is the only thing.
In reflecting on this seven-day war, we have two suggestions about how future struggles can be improved. The first is to shorten the baseball season so that it ends before the middle of October. The bad weather and the terrible playing conditions that reduced the quality of play in this series are only a forerunner of what may come some mid-October in Montreal or Toronto or Minneapolis.
Our second suggestion is even more radical. It is to return the World Series to the sunlight. Remember the days when people took long lunch hours to listen and watch? Or ran home from school to catch the last few innings? Or had notes slipped to them on the bench of the Supreme Court with inning-by-inning reports? That is gone now, swept away by the demands (and the money) of television for nighttime baseball -- even in October. Instead, Thursday morning saw a host of children dragged from their beds and shooed off to school in their sleep.
Baseball, most of all the World Series, belongs in the sunshine, on natural grass and dirt, in the open air -- and in Robert F. Kennedy Stadium.