When I was a kid, my Mama used to reward me for behaving myself by taking me to the Dome. It was pretty hard to earn enough points to go and I couldn’t stop talking and thinking about it all day. I first got to go the year I turned 4 and I was so excited to FINALLY get to go to a real, live ballgame that I could hardly sit down and watch even though the team wasn’t that good.
It didn’t matter. My Mama taught me baseball rules and basic strategy and how to keep score. And I learned that things somehow look very different when you watch the field and it’s hard to keep up with everything that goes on at the same time and my favorite players were seldom the “best” players. I just liked the way they looked or ran or stole bases or just seemed to be having a good time, especially the little guys because I used to imagine/pretend that if little guys could play, then little girls could play. I pitched like Mike Scott, ran like Rickey and fielded like Ozzie…..
I’m a grownup now. I think. I know that girls aren’t allowed to play ball and like Trix, pretending is for kids. So I don’t pretend that I’m Juan Pierre or David Eckstein or Paul LoDuca anymore.
But, you know, last night I took 2 of my cousins, age 7 and 9 to the park. They had never seen a ball game live before and after we walked inside, their eyes got wide and everything was WOW and COOL and LOOKIT LOOKIT.
And we sat down in the stands and I started teaching them the same way my Mama taught me. And suddenly I was a kid again, really thrilled to be there and watching the game. I forgot all about my scorecard and stat book. And how much money each guy makes and dollars per hit or pitch or whatever. I even forgot that we were supposed to Go All The Way this year and we aint a-gonna.
This time I didn’t get upset when Roger gave up 3 homers by the 6th or count runners left on base and I enjoyed watching the guys trying to come back instead of giving up. This year is the only year I will be able to have season tickets and go to all the games and watch real live major leaguers play and you know, I feel blessed. Cuz comparing the real live ballgame to TV and stats is like comparing my husband (who worked most of his Saturdays last year to save money to buy us season and all-star game and playoff/series tickets) to a vibrator and a quart of ice-cream. Too many people don’t know what they’ve got till it’s gone.