NEW YORK, NY – Sometimes an individual’s thoughts can be freakishly synthesized by their most recent experiences. Basically, it’s being in a mental “zone” where in one stroke, all dots are connected and wrapped, as if by magic, by a single thread. The dots go from a trip to the NHL Store by Rockefeller Plaza with my 13-year-old daughter to view the Boston Bruins Stanley Cup DVD to unexpectedly sharing a movie entitled Chasing 3000 on cable, to a recent Sports Illustrated article, Loving Baseball, by Joe Posnanski.
While Kaitlyn has enjoyed trains rides to NYC since she was in diapers, going to see a 90-minute hockey video ranks somewhere behind liver and broccoli. The aim was to explain what the Bruins’ victory meant to me… I wasn’t having much success.
Just in time, three separate Bruins fans came by, like the Coast Guard in a life boat. My Terry O’Reilly shirt was a welcome mat to one as we began talking with smiles as if we grew up in the same family. Some applause rang out during video’s end. There were shouts, high-fives and like the end of a series – farewell handshakes. My daughter then had an idea what this game and victory meant – about its impact on grown adults; making them kids again.
Three days later we happened upon Showtime’s movie about Roberto Clemente’s quest for the magical 3,000th base hit. The flick was more about two transplanted Pittsburgh teenaged boys’ cross-country quest to witness the event in person, though. The opening scene has Ray Liotta speeding with his own teenaged passengers en route to Roberto Clemente Day at the Pirates new home, PNC Park. A PA State Trooper pulls over the movie’s narrator only to crumble up the speeding ticket he had written after the two men share what Clemente meant to both of them as youngsters. The officer pulls down his mirrored sunglasses to hide tears over his own trip down memory lane. It was then – during and after the movie – that Kaitlyn comprehended what we had shared three nights earlier.
It was this past Wednesday, while waiting for a new set of rubber for the Cheesemobile, that I picked up a Sports Illustrated and saw Joe Posnanski’s column about baseball. Am I glad I did! It was a rather romantic piece that mentioned Clemente among Cooperstown, numbers, names, voices and naturally fathers and sons. The bottom line according to the writer is, as a baseball fan, the reason why people watch baseball is… because it’s fun.
I’m not really sure why my baseball divorce was so abrupt and long-lasting but I’m ready to try and embrace the game the way I did as a teen riding the bus and/or iron horse with friends to Yankee Stadium. Baseball was once a big part of my life and I played the game for the same reason as Kaitlyn does now – because it is fun.
Prior to these three events, I was contemplating a return to baseball but needed to find a team to follow. Mrs. Cheese hails from Pittsburgh and we visit often, Clemente will forever be linked to the city, and like the Bruins, the Pirates are black and gold. Seems like a nice fit.
A real baseball lover, West Coast Craig, tomorrow.