Can I pull you aside, for just a tiny bit? Would you sit on the bench and let me, please, if you would, share something with you? It may well be that you agree.
Here goes: I think baseball is beautiful. When you go to the park, it is a kind of worship. There is great fellowship among the fans, and a kindred sharing of what we watch, and feel, and why we are there.
The word “beautiful’ (thank you Wikipedia) is “an adjective used to describe things as possessing beauty”. Beauty “involves an interpretation of some entity as being in balance and harmony with nature, which may leads to feelings of attraction and emotional well-being. Because this can be a subjective experience, it is often said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
Beauty and the baseball. I mean, could we find a fair lassie being swept away by Babe Ruth, not the most attractive fellow right? Isn’t baseball truly beautiful even if not pretty at times? The agility, grace, the determination.
Well, look, that’s what I think, and if you have not left, I am very grateful. By the way, these are some photographs I took: This is my oldest baseball card. That’s my son there, and that one I took just because of the look in that little girl’s eyes. Really, you too? Wow, that’s awesome! Thank you. Thank you!
Now, I have to go do something.
And with that I strode mightily to the top of a mountain top. I did. I was en fugue. Once there, I proclaimed with such volume, such conviction, it echoed throughout the markets, the parks, schools, hospitals, churches, temples, mosques, arenas, freeways, side streets, it brought bells to ring. I proclaimed for the whole world to hear:
BASEBALL IS TRULY BEAUTIFUL! BASEBALL HAS BEAUTY!
BASEBALL IS BEAUTY!
The climb down the mountain was not easy, in fact took quite awhile, but when I got to the ground an enormous group of people was there. Like a river we flowed across the earth, as if waves themselves, splashing up and into the cities and towns, across the countryside. A ground swell of emotion and chatter, not unlike “Batter Batter!” and “Pitcher has a rubber arm!” Except it was the exhortation “Play ball!” And then, with tears in our eyes, we sang “Take me out to the ball game… take me out with the crowd…” Yes, we did, and well into the night. The stars giggled at such goings-on.
I hear that we have, in this moment, actually released the Mighty Casey from any more misery. Today there is indeed real joy in Mudville! Casey, it’s fine – next season! It’s fine!
You must know: There is a reason they call it “the diamond“. In its own way the field of play actually shimmers. It is both a girl’s and a boy’s best friend.
Groundskeepers work like passionate artists, to get it right. To make it pristine. To show it off. To frame the moment.
It is their canvas.
In baseball you can have success just a third of time, and still be patted on the back on your way to the Hall of Fame.
You don’t even have it to hit at all. You can pitch!
Or, you play in the field.
On occasion you stand with a bat to try to hit, to try to bring your team mates home. And let’s be real clear about it: Baseball is a team sport. All 9 are important, and more. If you tire, there is relief available. Someone has a chance to put out the fire!
There is speed, cleverness, agility, strength, curves, sliders, screwballs, knucklers, line drives, hops, booms, pop-ups, diving catches, back handed stabs, sliding, all in a place where we who watch, also muse, eat, laugh, yell, put arms around each other, sing, clap and encourage.
Gratitude is not all that unusual, whether it be what you just saw on the field of play, or the grandfather holding hands with the grandson, or the mom lifting her little girl up in the air and cheering. Between innings we salute our military, we watch folks kiss, and sing God Bless America.
We sit together, though we do not even know each other. We sit as if in one of the largest places of worship known to human kind, and we hope. At times, we pray, at least some of us.
Baseball is so beautiful. It is scruff and elegance at the same time. Excitement and slowdown, all at once. It is a pitch, it is many pitches, it is a bunt, a sacrifice, a steal. There is dust and grass stains. There are young and old. There are all comers, from all parts of the globe. I will lay a bunt down, to advance you…
A ceremonial first pitch. Like each of us descending from the Mayflower to put our hand on Plymouth Rock. It is like that. It is!
And, if you happen to catch a ball, or wind up with one that comes from there, from their world, that field of play, from that place you have been watching. If you happen to go home with a ball, it is like catching a shooting star which you place on a cabinet near your bed, which is with you, for a life time. It is your friend, your reminder. You were there, at that place, and you came home with part of it.
It was beautiful. It is beautiful. It’s baseball. An orchestration, a chess match, a moment of history, a parable of what we can be, under pressure, our imperfect selves.
Oh… I’m sorry. You sat with me a little bit on the bench. I’m Ron, you are?