How can you not have it?
I’ve had a lifelong love affair with baseball. I love everything about it, and year after year I find more ways to appreciate the game. Baseball, to me, is so perfect that it’s proof that God exists.
I love how a baseball smells. I love how hot dogs and beer taste better at a ballpark. I love the crowd rising to its feet. I love watching how effortlessly big-league infielders can throw a ball across the diamond. I love the rhythm of a radio announcer calling a game on a July evening. I love the one-on-one dual between a pitcher and a hitter that occurs more than 200 times each game. I love double-plays.
But more than anything, I love how baseball infuses February and March with a burst of energy.
With two weeks to go before Opening day, I want to share a couple of baseball poems that I love. Find them below.
“The Green Fields of the Mind ” by A. Bartlett Giamatti
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.
You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops.
Today, October 2, a Sunday of rain and broken branches and leaf-clogged drains and slick streets, it stopped, and summer was gone.
“People Will Come” by W.P. Kinsella (as told by Terrance Mann in “Field of Dreams”)…
Ray, people will come Ray.
They’ll come to Iowa for reasons they can’t even fathom.
They’ll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they’re doing it.
They’ll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past.
“Of course, we won’t mind if you look around,” you’ll say. “It’s only $20 per person.”
They’ll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack.
And they’ll walk out to the bleachers; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They’ll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes.
And they’ll watch the game and it’ll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they’ll have to brush them away from their faces.
People will come Ray.
The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by it like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time.
This field, this game: it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good … and it could be again.
Oh… people will come Ray. People will most definitely come.