"No game in the world is as tidy and dramatically neat as baseball, with cause and effect, crime and punishment, motive and result, so cleanly defined." Paul Gallico, sportswriter and novelist (The Poseidon Adventure)
|Enjoying the lawn at Hammond. Twins win!|
This spring I’ve been bouncing around Florida with my family, catching as many Grapefruit League games as I can before the inexplicable summer drought of professional baseball settles over the Orlando area. (We’re heading to Tampa to catch Twins vs. Rays later this month- that’s as close as it gets. No minor league team either. Really.)
We been to a few stadiums now. We’ve done bleacher seats, and we've done a beach blanket on the berm. We plop down somewhere, then someone sings the National Anthem and that’s it-- the outside world disappears, and a simpler universe unfolds as the home team runs on the field.
That’s how it feels. Like cracking open a new book. Every game presents a new cast of characters, favorite heroes and villains. Pitching duals, rivalries, batting orders are subplots. Every inning is a new chapter.
Strategy makes for plot twists; a well-timed change-up, a bunt, a sacrifice fly— every action a potential game changer. The story could climax with a three-run homer, or the unbeatable closer taking the mound.
Or say the game is a snoozer. Seven innings of watching your zombified home team getting blasted by a team with a killer lineup. But this is baseball, so you keep watching. There's always a chance.
"You can't sit on a lead and run a few plays into the line and just kill the clock. You've got to throw the ball over the god***n plate and give the other man his chance. That's why baseball is the greatest game of them all." Earl Weaver, Manager, Baltimore Orioles
|Two of my favorite kids with ATL's Cory Harrilchak|
And vocabulary? I’d wager baseball has the finest collection of jargon on Earth. Baltimore chop, Fungo, Chin music, Balk, Screwball, Dugout… these words are just fun. Period.
Both favorite books and baseball can make me feel like a kid again. They’re both experiences that are fun to share. I relived the joy of The Monster at the End of this Book with my daughter, and I’ll probably re-read Charlotte’s Web with her when she’s a little older.
These stories are a constant— just like watching a baseball game. Which, of course, leads me to this quote:
"They'll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they'll watch the game and it'll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they'll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come Ray. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh... people will come Ray. People will most definitely come."Terrance Mann, Field of Dreams