Putting our Heads Together

Putting our Heads Together
I don't think he sees me

Monday, February 15, 2010

2 Days 23 Hours 48 minutes

I guess it has become debatable in American society that baseball is America's past time. In an era of organic weight conscientiousness, and failing US automakers, has the refrain "Baseball, Hotdogs, Apple Pie, and Chevrolet" become a death knell rather than a rallying call?

I don't think so. Baseball is not my past time, it is not my passion, it is something more ethereal (and becomes even more so the older I get). In my middle age, I am thrilled by the prospect that we are on the verge of another spring training, that in fewer than three days pitchers and catchers will be reporting to Arizona and Florida to partake in this ritual of Americana. Childhood far behind me, once again childhood beckons me through baseball. Year after year I feel this, my own private phoenix rising from the flames. And it is not a solitary thrill, as I can reach out to my wife/best friend, and my baseball buddy, and my children, and my elder brother, and the larger brotherhood of baseball in screaming out, "I can't wait!"

It is because of the unique nature of baseball that it is not only a love but a shared experience. The Game represents the seasons. The arrival of camp and the start of the season is spring, the blooming of life awakening. By the allstar break, it is summer, the heating up of the run for the fall classic. By the playoffs, excitement has peaked, but the pangs of loss are beginning as I know the season is winding down and it is autumn. Winter follows, crawling, a barren time of no baseball filled only with thoughts of surviving and making it to spring training.

In it's way, Baseball is also religion. Like the Catholic Church which is uniquely known among sects and religions as the Church, so Baseball is uniquely known among all sports as the Game. As in the often raucous Southern Baptist Church, fans at a baseball game share the cathartic gyrations of euphoric ecstasy at the hitting for the cycle, or the clutch walk off grand slam (Spilly, Spilly, Spilly!). In Charismatic churches, believers will spontaneously break into speaking in tongues, like the baseball fan who will spout endless statistics at a moments notice and without warning. People believe in the Game, and die a little when the Game let's them down, because the Game should be above it all. And the Game has its saints, and like religious saints they are revered most not for their talent, and not for their stats, but from "doing it right."

Baseball: An analogy of life, a representation of the passage of the seasons, a religion unto itself. Baseball: Now 2 days, 22 hours, and 28 minutes until pitchers and catchers report. Baseball: I can't wait.

1 comment:

  1. Those are some mighty powerful thoughts my friend! I look forward to the big surprise of the season. What will it be? Will it be like last year, a bad start that lulls fans and other teams into thinking the Rockies are out of the picture, only to have them quietly claw their way back into contention? Remember the magical 14 inning night when we watched Spilly hit the GRAND SLAM? Will it be like 3 years ago when the improbable September run led us to the promised land of the World Series? Remember the "perfect night" at the NLDS game when they clinched against Philly? I will treasure the memory of that evening until the day I die. Will it be some new young shining star hitting for the cycle or scoring an unassited triple play? What will Tulo do to amaze us this year? Do you remember the night you were put up on the score board wearing your pink Rockies cap? Do you remember the game against Kansas City? Why do they have KC on their hats Jean-Marie? I love the laughter! Do you remember getting together every season to watch a game during the opening week? How about the time we went to the home opener the year after the World Series and then went to an art show after the game? That was FUN day. I remember Bloody Mary's before the game, my dog eating Jean-Marie's hamburger while watching a game at my house, visiting my Grandpa's brick at Coors Field, doing cross word puzzles on the drive up I-25 to see a game, freezing at the coldest playoff game in MLB history, Todd's 2000th hit, Giambi, Walt Weiss, the summer my Dad died and the game we went to where we sat in the best seats in the house, Big Cat, Dough Boy, EY and now his son, and a thousand other memories. I don't know what the surprise will be this year but I do know that we will share it together and it will be another wonderful memory that we will talk about for years to come. Baseball and our friendship are closely entertwined and yet the game is so much more because it is shared with such incredible people!