The Babe got it right.

Baseball was, is and always will be to me the best game in the world.~ Babe Ruth

Major League Baseball held the 83rd All-Star-Game tonight.  Ahhh.  The Midsummer Classic.  I imagine the fun that players must have sharing the field and playing on the same team, when they are so used to playing against each another.  Kind of a warm, fuzzy feeling  -a we’re all in this together kind of feeling.  In 1933, on July 6, the first Major League All-Star-Game was played at Comiskey Park in Chicago, and for years baseball’s best have been playing in this all time fan favorite-  making summer memories for young and old alike.

Baseball.  One of my favorite things.

“I believe in the Church of Baseball. I’ve tried all the major religions and most of the minor ones. And the only church that truly feeds the soul, day-in day-out, is the Church of Baseball.” ~Susan Sarandon, Bull Durham
Boys and girls everywhere are enamored with this sport.  I remember a night many years ago when I was presented with the Red Sox Yearbook.   “We got this for you.” my brother said when he and my father returned home from Fenway Park.   I pored over that publication for days, memorized stats, faces, and photographs of players who at the time were 3 times my age.  And so my love affair with the sport was taking root.

Countless times  in the evenings at my house, my father would strategically place his transistor radio on the edge of our deck as he worked outside.  The familiar sound of the play-by-play was the accompaniment to my gymnastics routines (mostly cartwheels) in the grass.

From my backyard you could also hear the  chants of Little Leaguers ringing through the air nightly.  They came from the park directly behind my house.  We were so close I could hear the crack of the bat, and see proud parents watching intently as their little ones played the game.

All I know is when we win a game, it’s a team win. When we lose a game, it’s a team loss.~Coach Morris Butermaker, The Bad News Bears (1976)

Fenway Park

Baseball fields are special places.  Take the base path.  The simple diamond that beckons:  “Come and run on me.  Slide on me, dive on me, laugh on me, get dirty on me, and mess me up!  That’s what I’m here for.”

Baseball dirt.  It’s special dirt.

The grass.  Soft and green, it says, “Play on me.  Stand on me, chat on me, laugh on me.  Lie down on me.  Dream on me.  I can take you places.  Just sit with me…be it blue skies, clouds, rain, or stars.”

It’s special grass, that baseball grass.

Dugouts. Or maybe just team benches.  Whatever they look like, they are places where precious time is passed.  Friendships are forged.  Rules are followed.  Laughter reigns free, and spirit is alive.  Sadness and disappointment will visit as well, but lessons are learned in these places.

“There is always some kid who may be seeing me for the first or last time, I owe him my best.” Source: The Sporting News (April 4, 1951)  ~Joe DiMaggio

Baseball holds an extra special place in my heart.  “As American as apple pie,” the game has been like my constant companion in life, lulling me to sleep as I lied in bed as a small child, holding my hand in elementary school, sitting on my shoulder throughout torrid Junior High moments, beckoning me to celebrate with the boys in high school, and acting as a calming force in my young adult years.

And so…

“People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.” ~Rogers Hornsby

I do the same thing.

Cooperstown Field of Dreams Park

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4 responses

  1. Send this to the Boston Globe…it’s awesome. I don’t think there ever was a more loyl Red Sox fan than my father. He would have loved this and would have agreed with every word. Those pictures are stupendous. Great essay!

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