Before starting this blog fresh and anew, I found myself spending some time thinking about why I have an eternal love for baseball in the first place. What I came up with was this – the main reason I love baseball is because of the two things it does for me . The first thing is that, to borrow from James Earl Jones’ famous monologue in the deeply flawed, but at times beautiful baseball movie, Field of Dreams , “it marks the time”. It does this not only for my own history and life, but for that of the country of my birth, America, as well. Perusing the stories associated with the game’s beginnings in America in the 1800s and tracing how the game of baseball became the game it is today is a great way to supplement any study of the history of this great nation of ours. All of this country’s inherent promises and contradictions laden in its sometimes glorious and sometimes heart wrenching history, are represented somewhere in the saga of baseball as well. The game of baseball is both a product of American culture and a reflection of it at the same time.
The second thing I can say the game does for me is that at times, it transports me to a place that can best be described as that sacred intersection in my mind where my teeming imagination and precious memories of the eternal summers of my childhood meet and intermingle. This part of my brain is inhabited by the gods, demigods, court jesters and citizens of the game, past and present. Its at these times that images of any given ballpark (preferably with natural grass) can become a dream like paradise to me, my own personal mythical Elysian Field , if you will.
You see, for me, baseball will always be the eternal passageway back to my days of growing up as a kid from the Midwest whose only worry for the day was whether it was going to rain or not. There would be days around this time of the year, July/August in Cincinnati, Ohio, that me and my compatriots would play from the AM hours, when you could still feel the morning dew saturating the grass, until the PM hours when dangerously enough, you could barely see the ball any more. Baseball is a love that no matter how long I stay away, she always welcomes me back with open arms with a glove on one hand and a gleaming white ball in the other. And it is in those times that I am reminded that dreaming and new dreams are always possible and my feverish affection for the game burns bright, fresh and anew like a 100 mph fastball speeding towards the heart of the plate.
So there you have it – the reasons why I will always love baseball in all of its incarnations and with all of its inconsistencies. Now on with the blog…:)