I. TIME TO GO HOME
They were nice, polite. Didn’t bother me until they were about to turn off the lights.
“Sir, would love to have you stay over, but it isn’t allowed…”
I did not have much to go home to, and being at the ball park is more engaging. I like being out with the other people, the crowd. Since Tilly passed, the house is a lot quieter and one thing about this place, it usually is not quiet. If things are not going well, there is noise. If things are going well, there is at least as much noise.
If my back is ok, I can do the wave with the best of ’em.
Various people know me, talk with me. I don’t have much trouble striking up a conversation anyway. Baseball is a common denominator. It is entirely possible I have nothing in common with various of the people I talk with frequently at the ball park. We are not just from different walks of life, different ages, backgrounds, but probably have divergent political views. Does not matter. Does not matter one iota. If we can talk about what the pitcher is doing wrong, or why they should have bunted, or that remarkable, diving catch… Or reminisce. Going back a ways and comparing notes. High-fiving when there’s a score. The ball park is not a lonely place. One thing I will say for her — oh, hold on a second. What is this?
A little cat, actually more of a kitty, is rubbing along side my ankle.
“Where this guy come from?”
One of the security guards is smiling. “A few around here. This one is new, at least I think so. Likes you though. Want a pet?”
“Well, wait a sec — there’s cats here?”
“We got a few, birds of course. There are some critters. There’s a lot of food, the aromas, there’s a field not all that far away. Sometimes I think people drop ’em off…”
I leaned over, and the kitty was quite interested in brushing his… “Is it a he? A her?”
“That one is a girl.”
“Huh! Well, she’s cute… What do you guys do with her? I wasn’t planning on having a cat, you know.”
“We call Animal Control, if we have to. Not much for her here… She’s yours if you want her. And, we are closing up. I don’t think they last all that long if Animal Control takes ’em.”
I have no idea what came over me. I picked up the cat, that kitten, I picked her up, I took her to the car… I brought her home.
She was very quiet. Serene even. She did not do a lot when I got her there. She slept right off. I went in the morning to get some cat food. She ate that real quick. Then I realized I had better get a cat box.
Do I let her out?
I should go to the Vet. Is she healthy? How in the hell did I wind up with a cat when I went to the baseball game?
II. ONE MONTH (OR 24 GAMES) LATER
Wonder if I should get Ruth a friend… She seems fine. Some of my friends tell me I ought to remove her claws. That seems awfully nasty to do. She was born with them. She isn’t tearing things up. She sheds a bit. She seems to understand the cat box. She sits at one of the windows. She definitely likes me. House is not as quiet, not as unfriendly. My two sons came by, they like her. One of them is married, my daughter in law really likes her. So I guess it’s working out. I watch some of the games on tv, and she sits on my lap or nearby.
The team isn’t doing so well, under 500 the past month. I have gone to several games. Have not seen any other cats there, and don’t stay there after each game. I still like just being there, and I like the night games particularly, but coming home is not so creepy. Not as quiet. Ruth is there — she purrs a lot when I am around. She likes being on my lap. She is growing. It’s good, it’s a good thing.
You know, I love baseball, have all my life, played for years, short stop, not half bad even, a decent stick. Not pro ball, some college, not a slouch, nope. Baseball has brought me so many good memories, and a lot of good company. I admire the way Veterans are saluted. Still get a tear in my eye, on occasion anyway, during the seventh inning stretch. Love to see the dad with the kid, or the mom. Love to see the excitement. Love baseball. You can’t convince me it isn’t the National Past Time. Baseball is gold, it’s a currency of the heart, I would argue that til the day I die!
Wonder though if I am the only baseball fan who can say baseball brought him a wonderful cat. The name Ruth, yes, that’s Babe Ruth. I wasn’t about to call her Babe.