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Mar 31 2011

Opening Day

Ah Spring, that time of year when a young man’s (and many young women’s too) fancy turns to thoughts of…

Baseball.

It’s the perfect time of year.  Your team has never lost a game and even if you know in your heart of hearts that your star pitcher (Santana and Maine and pray for rain) is out for the entire season and you have an entirely new management team so this is probably going to be yet another of what the polite call “rebuilding” years where you cheat and watch the fast forward version because it’s slightly less painful and a bit more efficient of your time, you have a chance at the Pennant.

Since my team is the Mets they have a history of quick starts and Opening Day victories and the Marlins are just not that good, so it’s entirely possible that Saturday I’ll be able to brag about a share of the NL East lead for the last time this season.  They’re pitching Pelfrey who is the best they got.

“I am watching my local sports franchise engage in an even more pointless than usual sporting competition.” says Atrios, but that’s just what makes it so timeless.

Your enjoyment of it depends on your level of concentration and it’s easy to get distracted especially if your team is doing poorly.  It you are paying attention each pitch is like a forward pass and each hit like an interception.  It is a game you play to win no matter how long it takes, there is no end without a victor, no tying in Baseball.

A Season is a long, long time.  One hundred sixty two games.  Nobody’s had a perfect one yet, so you can’t sweat the small stuff and let a little slump throw you into a big one.

Opening Day Matchups-

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 the Church of Baseball.

Baseball is what gets inside you. It’s what lights you up, you can’t deny that.

It just got too hard.

It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard… is what makes it great.

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. 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.

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