58 – Baseball

To my international audience, bear with me because today is Opening Day in Cincinnati. Typically, a day like no other anywhere, but COVID has a way of changing things. My hope is that 2022 will mark the return of a wonderful tradition. Nonetheless, the game will go on – the season will start – and baseball fans everywhere hold that special hope. Today’s beach walk must focus on baseball.

Click the video above for 2 minutes of background waves while reading.

I like walking on the beach. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

I think about the national past-time – the grand ole game of baseball. The game today remains the same game as the past with a few exceptions.

Yes, baseball – that mathematical ballet played on a green diamond found in a variety of geometric shapes.

Baseball – from the first glove, throwing a ball against a wall to practice fielding to playing catch with Dad in the yard. To sandlots, stickball in the alley, Wiffleball games at the make-believe stadium to little league – baseball is part of the fabric of many youth.

Photo by Pratik Gupta on Pexels.com

Baseball – a game with the subtleties of a wink or a fine wine – the strategies of chess – the textures of a well-crafted crust of an apple pie.

Baseball – the game without a clock – which is contradictory to the hectic nature of today’s everyday life – a life requiring time management and electronic calendars. Life may be rushed, but baseball isn’t.

Baseball – a game that is more subtle than obvious. A game with a ball controlled by the defense; but hitting the ball causes each defender to move to a place of calculated efficiency in order to prevent something from happening. Yes – baseball is chess on grass.

Baseball – a game of definiteness – win or lose – ball or strike – safe or out – fair or foul – success or failure – most of which an independent arbiter decides.

Photo by Anastasia Zhenina on Pexels.com

To some, baseball is a kids game played by men – but to me, baseball is a man’s game kids play as they dream of becoming a summer icon.

To its loyal fans, baseball is a game of hope designed to break one’s heart – yet the same hope acts as restoration because tomorrow is a new day and the chance to make amends.

Baseball – played on heavenly green cathedrals for the loving souls. From the fan’s and player’s perspective, yes – truly a field of dreams. Not the one beside the cornfield, but the ones with the highly manicured brilliant green grass. Every fan remembers the first time their eyes saw major league grass – the green that forever sticks to one’s soul. Mine was Crosley Field in Cincinnati – Reds vs. Giants in the mid 1960s. Yes, my Reds won that night.

Baseball – the batters, fielders, and pitchers – each given ample opportunities to gather statistics for baseball cards, trivia buffs, and modern day analytics – the game and numbers are a perfect match.

Baseball – from first dates, proposals, Crash and Annie, Joe and Marilyn, Roy and Iris, baseball is linked to romance.

From Field of Dreams, League of Their Own, The Rookie, Bull Durham, Eight Men Out, Bad News Bears, and It Happens Every Spring – there is no crying in baseball – not even from Mighty Casey and the Mudville 9.

Photo by Timo Volz on Pexels.com

Baseball – a game of anticipation, but with anticipation comes waiting. To me, the young focus on anticipation, but as we age, there is a shift to waiting – yet, baseball provides both.

Baseball – a game filled with artistry – the fluidity of a 6-4-3 double play – the athleticism of an outfielder leaping to catch the ball before clearing the wall for a home run – a catch that delivers relief to some, but heartache to others.

Baseball – the masterfully pitched game that befuddles batters is a work of a master craftsman – a brilliant painter. A few of the best hitters are professional batsmen – those who actually fail 2 out of 3 times is pure music.

Baseball – whose exclusion of Blacks spawned the Negro Leagues – and whose inclusion closed them – yet, let us not forget Moses Fleetwood Walker, the one who was Jackie before Jackie.

Baseball – From bigots to drugs to cheat and gamblers on the road to shame or fame, the game that mirrors society. It’s segregated past broken by Jackie Robinson 17 years before Congress passed the Civil Rights Act.

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Baseball – a game and a business. Greedy owners and players wanting more is nothing new – actually, close to the age of the professional game. That happens in business – yet today, players act in accordance with their own business decisions. Sadly, the days of a distinguished career in one uniform are slim – but not out.

Baseball – a game that challenges our patience, something that walking the beach does not do. But I like walking on the beach because it is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

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126 thoughts on “58 – Baseball”

  1. Baseball was something I rarely paid attention to, until I took my uncle from Holland to a game one year with the Blue Jays playing a team I can’t recall…and yet again the next year when he came over again….then I forgot about it, till our boys started watching it. Then of course Dad got them tickets and I went too…and was hooked. A real game of planned and spur of the moment strategy! It was the Tigers and they won…against my Blue Jays. LOL! Oh well, that is life, and since I live in Michigan, I have to be the correct fan sometimes. Though when the BJ’s play other teams, I do root for them still! LOL!

    The Tigers have become kittens, though, it seems…sigh…their glory days may be a long time in returning…but I will still enjoy watching and rooting for them! Even from my living room, or the rooms of my residents as I care for them and *they* are the audience form their bedsides.

    Covid sure has changed the face of the fans…literally! Those fake fans seem to bother me more than seeing the teams play to empty seats…

    I love when there are ‘stray’ moments on the field like the squirrel, the seagull and the cat! Maybe they wanted to play, too:)

    Play Ball!!!
    Roary says ROAR, Tigers, ROAR!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ingrid,
      I LOVE THIS COMMENT! What a wonderful story – and one with so many layers! Fans of your Tigers are probably very similar to fans of my Reds – loyal till death, hopeful but also realistic on what lies ahead. Thanks for sharing and getting my morning off to a good start.

      Like

      1. Hahaha – not on any mlb-worthy level tbh.
        But I play softball (only 20.000 players in the entire country 😅😭) so I’ll take what I can get.
        And we do have some Dutchies tearing it up at the top!

        Like

    1. Jo,
      The game is full of history, lore, traditions, and more. I’ve been a fan of the same team all my life, plus in pre-COVID days, no other city in the US embraces Opening Day like Cincinnati. Hopefully, the traditions of the day return in 2022.

      Like

        1. It feels like winter here! After a gentle March, last night was the first of three nights of below freezing. The high today will only be a few degrees above freezing. Tough days for blooms. This is definitely not weather for Easter and baseball. However, very warm weather is expected for Easter Sunday! 😀

          Like

      1. Marina,
        I chuckle as I got it. Baseball is a special game – even documentaries have been done about it here. But I know it’s a very American game, that is now also popular in Canada, South Korea, and Japan. But my audience here includes many Europeans, so today and this post is more about my salute to the game.

        Like

  2. Baseball was as much a part of my youth as school and church. I could recite entire teams position by position, knew the leaders in every statistic, and had my heroes (Frank Robinson, Bob Purkey, and Vada Pinson). Reading the Enquirer Sports page was a morning ritual!

    What they play today is more business than sport. I am so tired of analytics, players signed for one year, dumping salaries, and 5 inning starting pitchers. I realize things change and there is a reason for all of this, but it is just not the same game. I understand that baseball is a business first, but I have hard time lasting for much of a season these past ten years. I miss defense, strategy, and speed. Everything today is home runs and super pitchers.

    I will try again this season to gain some enthusiasm, but I think the thrill is gone..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gary,
      Cheers to your long enthusiasm for the game. In my prime of fandom, I too knew all the players. Personally, I like the analytics because baseball has always been about the numbers. On the other hand, the business aspect has changed through our years – and yes – so has the way the game is played. I still follow the game today – but more through only my team – so my knowledge of the players today is more scant. I hope to make it to GABP a few times this season, but my expectations are low for our team. Thanks for sharing!!!

      Like

  3. I have zero interest in sports, but I have actually been to a few baseball games. I didn’t know it was opening day until I heard it on the radio this morning when I was checking the weather. There will be some Phillies fans freezing out there in the blustery wind tonight, as a few will be allowed to attend. Enjoy, Frank!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Merril,
      And being a non-sports fan is OK with me – but you realize the game has a big history in our country. Here, the governor is limiting capacity to a third of capacity. Plus, with no traditional festivities in the city, today is not a typical Opening Day. (Yes, it is capitalized here) … and game-time temps will be in the 30s … TV is fine with me this afternoon.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Eugenia,
      Cheers to hubby’s excitement for the season. I used to do fantasy baseball. Tell him I did it back in the day when we did it without software or the internet – that is with in-person drafts, making phone calls, and calculating stats with paper, pencil, and a calculator. Definitely offers many great movies. The end of The Natural emotionally gets to me every time.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Frank, I did not stop to think baseball is but a version of chess being played on bright green grass. That is brilliant! Sadly, baseball is not as popular as it once used to be. I have passed our stadium with an ongoing game seeing more empty seats then filled. I hope that the enthusiasm for baseball returns especially after what all of us have been through. Perspectives shift and change. Perhaps baseball will be a sport looked upon once more as the cornerstone of our country. There is nothing quite like connecting a bat to a ball and hitting it. Thrilling!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amy,
      Cheers to a fan. Baseball is very strategic … even pitch to pitch, so I’m happy that you appreciated my comparison with chess. Love your idea of once upon a time baseball being a cornerstone of our country. I think that’s what Ken Burns had in mind with his documentary about the game. However, I don’t see it returning to those days because times and life are different. Nonetheless, the crack of the bat sound is priceless! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Never give up hope, Frank. I know just in my life I am slowing down and it feels good. Perhaps people will just enjoy being the moment again, without phones, without clocks and just really getting into the game of baseball. In the parts when the game is slow, chit chat back and forth between friends and family I can actually visualize. SMILE!!! xo

        Liked by 1 person

          1. I’ve been more and more into flow and ignoring the clock. Now taking care of the cats I do especially Charlie, I have to know what time it is. Other then that, I flow and it feels so so good!!!

            Liked by 1 person

    1. Dan,
      OMG … the Yardgoats …. now there is a team nickname for the ages. I’ve heard wonderful things about PNC Park, so maybe someday I’ll get there. After all, it’s relatively close … I’m thinking 5 hours. Good luck to your Pirates. Unfortunately, I imagine our teams will be battling for the bottom.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The Yardgoats was crowdsourced. People submitted names. The best 10 were put to a vote. The term is used to describe the little engines that move cars around in a railroad yard. The new stadium in Hartford is near where the railroad yard was located. The Pirates are making a game of it against the Cubs today. Gives me hope.

        Like

    1. Fraggle,
      With a good European following here, I knew this post wouldn’t be of interest to many people. Not only is baseball very American, it’s also very much part of me – but with today being Opening Day, I know it was a fitting day to step a bit outside the box.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Go Reds! Go Brewers! 🙂

    What a fun, in-depth piece on baseball, Frank. Field of Dreams is my all-time favorite movie, and Fogerty’s Centerfield was always such an upbeat anthem. I’m a huge fan of baseball now in my later years, since it’s slow-paced and fills many hours, and a game almost everyday besides! I can read or do jigsaw puzzles while listening as well. Coincidentally, today’s “Poetry Foundation” poem of the day is Gail Mazur’s “Baseball.” I think you’ll like it.

    https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/46809/baseball?mc_cid=e42bf4a200&mc_eid=908637d967

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mary Jo,
      Hooray – cheers to another baseball fan. You got me thinking about baseball and radio. The radio is the first live media to bring the game to the masses. Interesting how the early announcers were not at the game, but actually recreating it in a studio. I can picture a Rockwell painting of a family gathered around a radio to hear a game. I think of my time going to bed with a transistor radio under my pillow. I too enjoy Fogerty’s Centerfield – but it’s the images/clips that get to me the most. Good luck to your Brewers – but I’m not expecting much from my team in red. Thanks for the wonderful poem!!!! Love it!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I love the observation about baseball being a game without a clock. Not something I had ever remarked.

    This seems to be one of the most significant opening days in a while. I don’t think I’ve seen so many articles on it before, and there are always a few. In addition to Mary Jo’s Poetry Foundation link, the Library of Congress had Baseball in their story of the week with Charles E. Van Loan’s very good ode “Baseball as the Bleachers Like It.”
    https://storyoftheweek.loa.org/2021/03/baseball-as-bleachers-like-it.html

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yahooey,
      Yep … not only no clock, but unlike most games, the defense controls the ball. From what little I know about it, cricket seems also controlled by the defense. Because COVID abbreviated the 2020 season, the start of this season seems a bit closer to normal . Opening Day in Cincinnati has always been special – but no festivities again this year – and the stadium will only have about a third of its capacity – but it is something. Thanks for the link that I will check out later.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. It’s cold today … temps a few degrees above freezing. I’ve seen a few flurries today, but insignificant. The game starts in a bit more than 2 hours, and then temp drops from there. No thanks … I’ll stick to the TV. In 1977, it snowed overnight almost 2 cm, but the game went on as the grounds crew removed very flake from the field. There was a day when MLB recognized Cincinnati as the official opener. That tradition is gone, but Cincinnati embraces the opener like no other. That’s why Opening Day here is capitalized.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. In our hurry-up world, baseball remains the pinnacle of patience, doesn’t it, Frank? Thanks for a lovely post. I don’t guess I’ll ever forget my first major league game either!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Michel,
      Many readers here are European, so I knew this walk would have minimal interest – so this one is primarily for me and the North American audience. On the other hand, I will return to normal topics with the next post. 🙂 Meanwhile, I’m not surprised there is interesting in your town. 🙂

      Like

  8. Groovin’ on the song!
    From early on in getting to know you, I learned about your passion for baseball.
    Yes, Covid has messed things up a bit. Our Blue Jays won’t play on home turf for the second year in a row.
    Still, we are expecting a place in the finals. LOL!
    I look forward to more baseball posts, Frank!
    Cheers to the grand ol’ game! 🍷

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Resa,
      The Fogerty song is a baseball classic. Personally, I love the clips in the video! The border closure is tough on your Blue Jays. I know they were in Buffalo last year … and I assume there again this year. (I’ll have to check it out). Meanwhile, hopefully the game with people in the stands is a sign we are getting closer to normalcy. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

          1. You have the correct address. I just found it!
            I have 2 emails… one for work, and my Art Gowns blog.
            The other I use for my GLAM blog.
            The other was supposed to be for work. It was set up by a tekkie, before I got a grip on how to do things for myself.
            It was supposed to be Resa’s Work… He should have put an underscore between resa’s_work. Also the apostrophe is not recognized. SO google mail decided I am Resa Swork.
            Anyway, that’s why I use it for blogging, and not work. LOL!!!
            I will send you some hope street art soon!
            Cheers!!!!!

            Liked by 1 person

  9. I can feel your baseball passion, Frank, as I read this. Me? Never a big baseball fan, but since I moved to the Boston area six years ago, I better NEVER say that out loud. Red Sox Fever! And it’s opening day at Fenway right now. I’ve been to a game almost every year at Fenway (not last year, of course) and the stadium is magical.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pam,
      Ah ha … you caught the fever. I tried to go to a Red Sox game once, but couldn’t get a ticket. But I did stroll by Fenway once on a game day. It was quite a thrill … but I have been to a game in Chicago’s Wrigley Field. That was awesome! Thanks for sharing and good luck to your Red Sox.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Of course last night’s game was rained out. Ugh. Fenway is an antique treasure. On the other coast I’ve attended SF Giants games at their magnificent stadium on the Bay. It’s a contemporary gorgeous kingdom.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Wow, you got a lot of responses to this one, Frank! I grew up playing fast pitch softball, first on the boys’ team, then the men’s church team (shortstop, I might add), then eventually slow pitch which was not quite as much fun because no stealing or bunting. 🙂 Baserunning and stealing were a couple of the things I loved. We lived in Omaha and went to the college world series every year for at least a game or two. When we lived in Cleveland and the Indians were terrible, I knew someone with second or third row seats just to the right of the netting behind the batters box and he often gave us tickets as no one else really wanted to go. It was fun to be able to see the players’ faces and not feel that if you tripped going down the stairs you’d fall many stories to your death.

    But now I have virtually no interest in baseball, although I’d probably enjoy an in-person game. It’s just so slow compared to hockey and things like that that I enjoy. That’s fine Different strokes for different folks, as the saying goes. 🙂 Enjoy the season.

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Janet,
      Love your playing background. You were obviously a good player. 😀 …Thanks for sharing. As a whole, today’s society likes faster-paced sports. Then again, increased interest in soccer blows that analysis. Oh … I like hockey, too …. and I haven’t attended a game in years.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Ahh baseball. I used to watch it on TV just as I loved watching football – then I met David. Not a sports guy sadly so haven’t really watched a game in ages – our Washington team is playing tonight – it’s super windy and quite cold here but I still will be hoping they win even if I’m not watching. Some say baseball moves too slowly – I like the pace. Enough to keep you interested but not on the edge of your seat (unless it’s tied in the last inning).

    Pam

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pam,
      Alright … another baseball fan … well, in a previous life for you. I see that COVID issues canceled your team’s game tonight … that’s a reminder of the current age. Good luck to the Nationals …. go ahead, keep one eye on them by checking scores. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Donna,
      Your comment is perfect …. yes … the hope of the return of something we love is just around the corner. Baseball starting in April is a sign of normalcy … last year was July. So yes – let us hope this is a sign …. and yes …. fingers crossed.

      Like

  12. You evoke an interesting image, Frank, “mathematical ballet.” I can feel your love and passion for the game. I had not thought about how many movies share the game of baseball. I have enjoyed watching my children play the game. I will forever think about baseball differently after reading your post. Fascinating information!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Erica,
      With baseball being a long-time part of Americana, no wonder why it is linked to movies … and movies that non-baseball fans can enjoy! Mathematical ballet and chess on grass are two of my favorite descriptors in this post, so the fact you noticed made me smile.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Dear Frank,
    great to read your enthusiastic baseball-post 👍👍 But you have to be British or living in a former British colony to become a baseball fan. Although we live in England for a while we find baseball quite boring. But we like how you write about it.
    Thanks for sharing.
    All the best. Happy Easter 🐣
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Klaus,
      The Olympics tried to increase baseball’s outreach, but outside of North America, the Caribbean, and Korea/Japan region – interest in baseball is marginal. I have a good number of European readers here, so I knew this post wouldn’t resonate. But I knew it was important to me and others to mark the occasion. Even though you find the game to be boring (and that’s ok) – the fact that you detected enthusiasm made me smile. Thank you! Happy Easter to you this weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Baseball – a game I get bored watching on TV but one that I love to see live now and again.
    Baseball – my favourite kinds of movies! And I saw all of them listed except one “It Happens Every Spring” – gonna have to check that one out 🙂
    Baseball – the fans who are obsessed and can spew out facts and numbers and stats blow me away!
    Fun post, Frank I know you are a huge fan and it shows.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dale,
      Baseball is definitely a game of numbers – which means loads of trivia. I sent Marc a collection of 14 trivia questions I recently saw – together, we got 6 right. SIX! It Happens Every Spring is an old movie starring Ray Malland. It’s corny, but I loved watched it this time of the year in my kid days. I actually found it online and watched it last year – but just noticed the link is now down. 😦 Oh well … long live the days and memories of the infamous Jarry Park.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Boy is it ever.
        6? Only SIX? I am shocked! Not even 50%… I dunno, Frank… between the two o’ youse… I’d have expected much better results 😉
        Of course, I tease.
        Should it ever play again, I’ll make sure to watch. Sooo many baseball movies and I enjoyed every single one of ’em.
        I also, believe it or not, do love a game of catch…
        Jarry Park and the Expos… sweet memories

        Like

  15. There it is Cincy! And yanno . . I really wasn’t sure when Opening Day was in the leadup, until it was actually here. Which is kinda cool, I think.

    The dimensions that you touch on here, to think they are tossing with moving the mound back in an effort to lower the strikeout rate. But hey, they never mind the fact that the game is handled as feast or famine at the bargaining table. So if you can hit 30 plus homers, you’re getting paid regardless of how many times you strike out. No need to learn the fundamentals, like how to bunt or how to hit them where they ain’t.

    Let’s hope for a good season.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Marc,
      The game is different today. The days of sacrifice bunts, stealing bases, a line-up with a little of everything. …. Gonzo …. Heck, I’m not convinced defense is a premium anymore. I don’t mind the analytics because that is another animal. So they want to move the mound back? Wow … After the Year of the Pitcher in 1968, they lowered the mound. Maybe MLB should consider turning into T-ball. Meanwhile, good luck to your Yankees this year. My first goal for my Reds is to win more games than the 1960 Mets.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And unlike some, I don’t mind it. Like the celebrations and the bat flipping, whatever. But damn, KNOW HOW TO BUNT OR SACRIFICE YOURSELF if it means a better chance of winning the game? Please?

        I love the way the Padres look this year. As for NY, they will have to battle the injury bugaboo, as they have to every year it seems.

        The Reds aren’t that bad, are they?

        Like

  16. Baseball and many other outdoor games, yes this is the starting of the season here too, but not this year or last year. I remember the excitement of my kids when this time of the year arrived, buying uniforms, meeting new playmates…, now they are grown-ups, but I feel sorry for many families that are missing this time of year because of the pandemic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Elizabeth,
      Spring is the start of the time of many outdoor activities for kids and adults. Right now, those going up seem to be releasing pent-up winter energy. But outdoor activities will be regular well into October. Meanwhile, many adults hang onto those cherished memories of playing as a kid.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Bernhard,
      Welcome first-time beach walker to the fine sands of my personal beach. This is a friendly place, so I hope you return. Besides, I need a regular Dane here. 🙂 Baseball is a challenging game to learn. After all, it is not controlled my time and the defense controls the ball. With its own pace, baseball can be a wonderful break from our fast-paced world.

      Like

  17. Frank, I can tell you as a kid there was not a day that went by, that we weren’t out of the house (all day) and playing ball in the street! All the houses were small, exactly the same (except in color) and full of kids! My dad went to a lot of effort and probably expense, at the time, to carefully plant a small hedge, all around the front of our lot. Well kids being kids, when the ball plopped in our yard we tore through the hedge or tried to jump over it to get to the ball so the other team wouldn’t score! When my dad got home from work, we always tried to be extra careful, because when he was home if the ball came into the yard and we hopped or broke through the hedge, he kept the ball! Thanks for bringing back those memories! Cady

    Like

  18. I’m not a huge fan but I support my husband’s love of the game. He often listens on the radio as opposed to watching on the screen, like he did when he was a child. My 13-year old granddaughter is a catcher on a travel softball team and is really quite talented. It’s wonderful that they can share such a strong interest in the game. I’m hoping they will be able to attend at least one Dodger game this year. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Though not a huge baseball fan, I do enjoy going to a live game. Personal trivia: the first professional baseball game I attended was my hometown Toronto BlueJays against the Cincinnati Reds! 😄 I can’t remember who won, but I do remember my excitement!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Connie,
      You’ve shared that you don’t have to be a huge baseball fan to have a wonderful first-time experience at a game. You may not remember who won, but you remembered the teams and place … and the fact that you got to see my Reds made me smile. Thanks for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

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