For Love of the Game

“Baseball is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains. Think about that for a while.”

I thought about that this week. As I sat on the couch, snuggling with the draft picks of the 2030 season. The ballgame was on. The 2012 Major League Baseball season is upon us.

Sometimes there are sights, smells, sounds that take you back – there are memories in those sensory melodies. And the one that never fails to make me smile is the smell of freshly cut grass, the sound of cleats on the concrete, and ultimately the sight as the boys of summer take the field.

I love baseball. I was raised with America’s pastime. Of the game Robert Frost said, “Poets are like baseball pitchers. Both have their moments. The intervals are the tough things. Substitute “writers” for “poets” and perhaps that’s why I’ve found my place.

Well, that and I have a thing for left-handed pitchers.

I’m a Dodger girl, raised to bleed Dodger Blue. My grandmother, mother and aunt are the two generations above me with a love for the boys in blue. (Once they got the heck out of dodge anyway – leaving Ebbets Field for the sunny shores of LA. We’re a family of California girls here. My brother is a Cincinnati Reds fan. We’re not sure where that particular affliction came from.)

When the muppets were born on May 28, significantly sooner than their Aug. 24 due date, GrammaJ smiled brightly. “They’ll be ok!” she proclaimed. “Wes Parker was No. 28. It’s my lucky number. It’s a sign.”

AuntJ’s true Dodger love was Steve Garvey. She stalked him throughout her formative junior high years (complete with a scathing letter to the editor when the Los Angeles Daily News dare publish an unflattering article about Mr. Clean.)

At one point, AuntJ was with us in the San Bernardino Mountains when we noticed Vin Scully shopping at Jenson’s supermarket. She bolted from the car, dragging my brother through the store as she chased the acclaimed broadcaster down the aisles.

A scant few years later, AuntJ, Parker and I settled in for a dinner at Disneyand – when who should we see but Tommy Lasorda sitting next to me. J was so giddy and effusive with her praise about his years at the helm that Parker (not a baseball guy) had to excuse himself from the table.

My own left-handed pitcher was raised an Oakland Athletics fan. I’ve since adopted them as my Northern California team. (They’re in different leagues and it’s not 1988 people; don’t judge me.)

And so it was the A’s (currently performing a spot-on rendition of the 1989 movie Major League) that my boys and I watched as they kicked off the new baseball season. Not typically allowed to watch TV, Search was riveted by the movement of athletes running to catch the ball, throw the ball or hit the ball. Destroy was running around throwing things. At least the things thrown were balls? (Let’s work on that left-handed curve, shall we son?)

Me: Baseball. Can you say baseball?
Search: No.
Destroy: OOT BA!
Me: No sweetie, that’s football. Say BASEball.
Search: No.
Destroy: <Flings soccer ball across the room.>

“The one constant, through all the years, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time.”

My family loves baseball. I love baseball. My family is a little nuts. I am a little crazy. I won’t deny the potential correlation.

So play ball. For the love of the game.

4 Comments

Filed under Family Stories, Sports

4 Responses to For Love of the Game

  1. Gramma j

    Go blue.

  2. Great Aunt J

    You forgot Mark’s favorite part of the Tommy Lasorda debacle – the constant Cobb salad falling back out of his mouth as he attempted to talk with us – yucko!

    Go baseball!

  3. Awesome post.

    GO REDS!

  4. Nancy Welker Caracciolo

    I was having a similar conversation with a co-worker the other day. The company used to rent buses and take the whole company to Dodger games. Every so ofter they would give out 2 tickets to games as a bonus. One of my all-time favorite memories…They gave me tickets and I took my 81 yr old grandma to a Dodger game … There was a big, fat, obnoxious, cigar smoking, fan-of-the-other team in front of us. Loud, annoying and stinky. 7th inning he stood up and his pants fell down. He was dead-silent the rest of the game. The look on my grandma’s face was priceless!!!

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