25 August 2010

Last Call for Peanuts

Image from Tangzine.com

As summer winds down, my Beloved Spousal Unit and I have been trying to catch a final few baseball games.  Sure, there are the playoffs and then the World Series.  But the regular season is its own small universe of splendid plays, chesslike maneuvering, and the quiet pleasure of scoring games.


We watched the Brewers and Dodgers last night.  Got to see the game from a new vantage: third base side, upper terrace. The view was wide and filled with the colors of the many advertisements, the flashing scoreboard, and the clothing of the 39K+ folks in the stands.  The playing field grass had been mowed into a broad checkerboard pattern, alternating, fresh green squares.  And the park's retractable 'clamshell' roof was open to let in a soon-to-be-fall breeze. 
While each game can be like any other in terms of its patterns of play, each experience of a game is its own treasure.  Last night's memories for me will be
  • Watching a young dad dancing to "Roll Out the Barrel" at the 7th inning stretch with his young son in his arms.
  • Hearing the Monty Python Theme Song* between pitches late in the game.
  • Munching on a bag of Kettlecorn bought by aforementioned Beloved Spousal Unit.
  • Seeing Bob Uecker back in the radio booth.
  • Texting my sister during the game. She had to work but caught the end of the game on TV. 
  • Casey McGehee: his first year with the team was tough but he's grown into a standout player and shown what a stand up human being he is.
  • Watching the 5 young teenage boys in the row in front of us.  All of the same age, it was clear they'd grown up together.  Neat to see friendships in the making.

I enjoy watching many different sports - ice hockey, futbol, even golf when it's on an interesting course - but baseball is the best for me.  The older I get, the dearer it is.  It becomes poetry.  I totally understand what A. Bartlett Giamatti wrote now:

"It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone."

Source: The Green Fields of the Mind (Yale Alumni Magazine, November 1977)

Photo credit: Beloved Spousal Unit
* [from Wikipedia] "The series' famous theme song is the first segment of John Philip Sousa's The Liberty Bell, chosen because it was in the public domain, free to use without charge."
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