Lord, I love baseball. I love every cliché — how time begins on Opening Day; how the game is designed to break your heart; how it teaches failure over and over again; how the best players in the world fail to get a hit two out of three times. And then, in those rare moments when everything comes together, it produces a miracle.

I love politics, too, for many of the same reasons. And, let’s face it: in both endeavors, the score is toted up and there’s a clear winner and a clear loser. The deeply public nature of the success and the failure is both inspiring and intimidating.

I find a lot of political folks love baseball. When I hosted “Crossfire,” my right-wing counterpart, Bob Novak, would spend an hour telling me my political views were baloney, then speed off in his Corvette — to the baseball stadium, where his season tickets were a row in front of mine. I can still see Novak, God rest his soul, with his lovely wife Geraldine, keeping score, as I sat with my sons, keeping my own scorebook.

George Will rarely misses a game. Al Hunt is a regular. James Carville and Tim Russert used to sit together — and then Tim would go back to relentlessly grilling the Clinton administration on TV, while James would go back to defending the President just as vociferously.