Time Essay: Doing Violence to Sport

The knuckleball comedy The Bad News Bears does not play all its scenes for laughs. In one gritty confrontation, a coach stomps out to the mound and strikes a twelve-year-old to the ground. The moment seems pure fake-believe; in fact it is a Little League echo of Major propensities. Since the start of this year's baseball season, aggression has been the order of the day.

Last week New York Yankee Lou Piniella slid into Boston Red Sox Catcher Carlton Fisk with enough force to trigger a wild on-field brawl—and bloody fights in the...

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