PHILADELPHIA, PA – We had another post planned, of course. We were going to talk about the first week, the Mets’ opener, and the idiocy of baseball brawls – those ridiculous displays of finger pointing, profanity, threatening gestures, and, most of all, ripped 30-year-old professional athletes being effortlessly held back by overweight, buffet-bloated 62-year-old coaches. But that was yesterday morning. So much has happened, since.
Baseball is, at its best, great art. Like an appreciation for poetry, love for the game must be born and nurtured in youth – for the insight, the history, and the excitement of knowing what might happen, is what the game is built upon. To individuals who don’t follow it, or care about it, the wonders of baseball, like the nuances and delicate colors of a great painting, are lost, because they simply don’t know what they’re looking at.
Baseball is also a common thread; an almost genetic link that reinforces a family line; a family identity. Our childhood was a simpler time, a better time; so funny how our parents thought the same thing about their childhood. Yeah Dad, that Great Depression was really a barrel of laughs. But maybe it wasn’t that bad, to him, because he had baseball, and innocence.
For us, here in Philadelphia (and in many cities) and for baseball, over these last forty years, our thread had a voice. We’re old, I’m afraid, but not old enough to remember when it wasn’t there. The cliches of youth – the old radio by the bed; the transistor on the beach, the long car rides, the television broadcasts, and the joy of summer nights on the front porch as the game echoed off the concrete – they’re all there, woven together like a grandmother’s quilt.
A voice was part of all that. Selfishly, we’re not mourning for him today, really, but for ourselves.
Because we feel a little older today.