I heard some politician say recently that closing libraries is no big deal, since the kids now have the Internet to do their reading and schoolwork. It’s not the same thing. As any teacher who recalls the time when students still went to libraries and read books could tell him, study and reflection come more naturally to someone bent over a book. Seeing others, too, absorbed in their reading, holding up or pressing down on different-looking books, some intimidating in their appearance, others inviting, makes one a participant in one of the oldest and most noble human activities. Yes, reading books is a slow, time-consuming, and often tedious process. In comparison, surfing the Internet is a quick, distracting activity in which one searches for a specific subject, finds it, and then reads about it—often by skipping a great deal of material and absorbing only pertinent fragments. Books require patience, sustained attention to what is on the page, and frequent rest periods for reverie, so that the meaning of what we are reading settles in and makes its full impact.
How many book lovers among the young has the Internet produced? Far fewer, I suspect, than the millions libraries have turned out over the last hundred years. Their slow disappearance is a tragedy, not just for those impoverished towns and cities, but for everyone everywhere terrified at the thought of a country without libraries.
Miller said he shook off Molina’s signs no more than five times a year. Kevin Siegrist, a Cardinals reliever who made 45 appearances last year, his rookie season, said he had never shaken off Molina. The veteran Adam Wainwright said he and Molina knew each other so well that they sometimes communicated signs by a simple look or shrug — no fingers necessary.
The factors behind Molina’s pitch selection usually, and understandably, remain a mystery. Molina, who calls every pitch on his own and often sets the defense, would gain nothing by explaining his hundreds of decisions each game. The youngest of three brothers, all major league catchers, Molina said his attention to detail came from a sense of duty.
“My family taught me about that, about being the leader, being there for your teammates and caring about everything during the game, after the game, before the game,” Molina, 31, said by his locker last week. “Just care about your teammates, care about the game, try to be good each day. That’s the way I do my part.”