Baseball is back. The (ethically dubious) delight of spring and summer and fall. During the winter, I cope with short sunlit days and rain rain rain by counting the weeks, days, hours til my beloved Red Sox take the field again, and somehow, it helps me through the dreary days to the moment when pitchers and catchers report – and then: opening day. This year my beloved has arranged for me to see all the games through some fancy internet service and it feels good to see the rituals of my youth reenacted on the field.
Now I hold my love for baseball with some ambivalence about the professional sports world. Fueled by testosterone, steroids and tv rights, grown men are paid exorbitant salaries to “play ball.” Many of the values I hold dear are pretty absent from the diamond, yet I return and cheer and feel connected to the past, while expressing hope for the winning season predicted. Baseball is entertainment and I am caught in spectator distance and delight. Counting balls and strikes. My day unfolds with the routine of tuning in to tuning in to RemDawg and Don Orsillo. I love to hear the Boston cheers, the accents and somehow through the miracle of smellivision catch the fresh cut grass, the garlic fries and beer, and the warm scent of victory in a moment of rapture. I’m glad for the escape, and welcome back the season.
I believe in the Church of Baseball. I’ve tried all the major religions, and most of the minor ones. I’ve worshipped Buddha, Allah, Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, trees, mushrooms, and Isadora Duncan. I know things. For instance, there are 108 beads in a Catholic rosary and there are 108 stitches in a baseball. When I heard that, I gave Jesus a chance. But it just didn’t work out between us. The Lord laid too much guilt on me. I prefer metaphysics to theology. You see, there’s no guilt in baseball, and it’s never boring… which makes it like sex. There’s never been a ballplayer slept with me who didn’t have the best year of his career. Making love is like hitting a baseball: you just gotta relax and concentrate. Besides, I’d never sleep with a player hitting under .250… not unless he had a lot of RBIs and was a great glove man up the middle. You see, there’s a certain amount of life wisdom I give these boys. I can expand their minds. Sometimes when I’ve got a ballplayer alone, I’ll just read Emily Dickinson or Walt Whitman to him, and the guys are so sweet, they always stay and listen. ‘Course, a guy’ll listen to anything if he thinks it’s foreplay. I make them feel confident, and they make me feel safe, and pretty.
‘Course, what I give them lasts a lifetime; what they give me lasts 142 games. Sometimes it seems like a bad trade. But bad trades are part of baseball – now who can forget Frank Robinson for Milt Pappas, for God’s sake? It’s a long season and you gotta trust. I’ve tried ’em all, I really have, and the only church that truly feeds the soul, day in, day out, is
Writing Prompt: My soul is fed by…