Friday, August 01, 2008

Put me in coach

My sister once challenged me to write about why baseball is “America’s Pastime.” Many would argue it really isn’t anymore with the ratings the NBA and NFL get. But Baseball is different. It’s old---it has history. A passion for baseball is something that is passed down from the generation before. My sister and I surely got it from our Dad, who played sandlot ball before marrying our mom. The story was always told how he would have gone on to play with the White Sox had he not broken his ankle sliding into third during a playoff game. Anyway, he always watched the games, and took us when he could. He taught me the game, how to keep score, and explained strategy moves by mangers. So my sister and I are both rabid baseball fans. She, down in New York, follows the Mets faithfully, even as far as to have the portable radio out in the yard for Sunday afternoons. I of course can cheer for the Mets as they are an NL team. In turn, we share a joint cause in wishing a pestilence upon the Yankees. So by default, she can be a Red Sox fan. God help us if the two meet in the World Series. (Oh, and crap, I still need to pay off from the Super Bowl!)

So I’m sitting here watching the Sox go into extra innings. The game had a bit of drama built into it, as yesterday our star Hall of Fame bound Manny was traded and tonight was the debut of Jason Bay. The crowd went nuts for him, and god love him he walked, score on a sac fly, got a base hit, and made a diving catch in left field. Nice way to impress the crowd new dude. You must have gotten the memo. :p

So now the game is in the bottom of the 10th inning. With two outs, the A’s allow a hit, and then Houston Street allows two walks to load the bases. The crowd is on their feet. Rookie Jed Lowry comes to the plate. The excitement is palpable. And you know why? Because at that moment, everyone might as well be ten years old, in the Little League World Series. There is a wonderful emotion joining every body in the stands: Hope. We hope Jed gets a hit. We have faith Jed CAN get a hit. There is no reason to believe he can’t, and hey---we can will him to get one with our caps turned upside down, and our hands clasped in front of our faces and our breath held with each pitch that comes at him.
-Fouled off. –exhale—
-ball 2
-swings, crack, gasp---foul ball
and so it goes as Lowry works the count.
Our excitement mounts. And with a loud crack of the bat, we all gasp again!
Pop fly, and he’s out. “AWE!”

But it’s ok. There’s another inning to play. It’s our team, and our field. And we’re still there, not one person has left the stadium, with our collective energy fueling the fire.
“”Cause it’s root, root, root for the home team.
If they don’t win it’s a shame…”

Pass me the peanuts, and Crakerjacks.
That’s why it’s America’s pastime.

P.S. OMG The new guy, Bay just hit what looked like it was headed for Landsdowne St triple off the left field wall. Welcome to Boston Jason Bay.
P.P.S. Rookie Jed Lowry just beat out an infield hit, to score Bay for the walk-off win. Cecil B. Demille couldn't have scripted it better. I predict tomorrow's Boston headlines to read, "Manny Who?"


dw said...

I grew up with baseball. I always played with the boys (no softball for me), watched the games, kept score, went to games whenever possible. I grew up as a Yankee fan (sorry 'bout that), but now am totally following the Cubs. It helps of course that my new condo is less than 2 miles from Wrigley Field.

To me, baseball is a throwback to simpler times. In this fast-paced world baseball continues at a relaxed pace, which some say is slow and boring. But baseball requires that you pay attention, it requires you to keep track of who's on base, who's at bat, who's in the on-deck circle, who is warming up in the bullpen--and all the time enjoying a nice breeze, a bright sun, a cold beer. Yes, I like other sports, and yes, baseball has had its problems like other sports (drugs, overpaid primadonnas), but when the sun is out, the wind blowing out, the rival team in town, let me pull up a chair if I can't make it to the game, pop a cold one and relax for a few hours and feel like I'm a kid again, when the biggest worry of the day is the outcome of a baseball game.

jobee said...

When I first read the blog title, I couldn't understand why you wouldn't prefer First Class...

Have you ever read "Eats shoots and leaves"?

dw said...

OMG, jobee, that's a great book!

Anonymous said...

I met the author of that book. Wonderful!

Anonymous said...

Hey G- I have also been getting into baseball more lately. I saw that game too, and felt like it was a great one.

And I love seeing Papelbon pitch!