...turns to thoughts of green grass and baseball
Baseball is the real sport
A nice white ball, green grass
The click of the bat hitting the ball
Good curves over the plate
Waist high and just above the knee
Inside corner or outside corner
Warm sunshine beating down
Wife home waiting supper. -- Ken Wright (1899-1952)
Can you believe it? We're already at the halfway point in the Major League baseball season and they're playing the annual All-Star game tonight. It seems like only last week that we could finally see light at the end of the long, cold tunnel we call winter and neighborhood kids began replacing hockey sticks with baseball gloves.
I'm a summer kind of guy and baseball is my favorite game -- always has been and always will be. Even my wife Rosanne has caught the horsehide bug and passionately watches every telecast of Blue Jays games, even going so far as to tape the games if she is otherwise occupied. When a game is on we have to make sure that all doors and windows are closed because of her shrill screems with every close play and home run.
My passion for baseball was fuelled when my dad (his word picture above) spent a week's grocery money on my first glove (much to my mother's chagrin) when I was knee-high to a grasshopper. From that point I literally lived on the ball diamond for the next dozen summers, dreaming of some day playing in the Majors alongside boyhood idols Joltin' Joe DiMaggio, Rapid Robert Feller and The Splendid Splinter, Ted Williams. The Detroit Tigers were "my team" and I can still hear the throaty voice of radio announcer Harry Hylman calling games behind his WJR Detroit microphone.
As the years progressed, I continued playing organized baseball until my body (and my wife) began giving me subtle messages and it was time to turn to coaching and umpiring. I was even a baseball writer at one time. There's just something unique about the game that let's you live your dreams. While I'm many years removed from active participation, I still get baseball fever and love to follow the game. There is no way that I can pass a sandlot if there is a game in progress and, regardless of the calibre, I'll stop to watch an inning or two.
The great thing about baseball is that you don't have to be a super athlete to play the game and it doesn't have to cost a fortune -- all you need is some open space anywhere. You can play catch with any kind of ball and if you're lucky enough to have a bat (even a stick will do) you can play a game of pepper in almost any yard or side street.
A game of scrub, anyone?