Tuesday, June 7, 2022

The Allure of Baseball

Tyler has always watched a LOT of baseball on TV.  Something about it holds his attention and glues him to it..  It may be the motion of the pitcher and the swing of the bat that he enjoys so much.  Whatever it is, it has always prompted spontaneous speech and laughter like nothing else does.  He'd get right up nose-to-nose with you and holler "STRIKE!" or "HE'S OUT!" just to add to the excitement.  Even when trusted friends visited he would suck them into watching a few innings with him.  Strangely enough, going to a live game didn't translate.  I don't believe that he recognized it as baseball because the camera angle behind the pitchers shoulder wasn't what he was seeing.  We tried a few times to take him to a live game but with very limited appeal.  Baseball also had healing powers for him.  I remember he was in the hospital for a surgery and the minute we found baseball on TV he was ready to jump up and get moving.  

Baseball has a special place in my heart as well.  I grew up watching the Philadelphia Phillies when it was Mike Schmidt, Pete Rose, Steve Carlton, and Juan Samuel.  I wore Philly wristbands everywhere I went and could always be seen in my Phillies hat.  Best of all, a couple of times a year my dad would book a bus trip for him and I to see the Phillies play.  Sometimes my grandpa went too.  It felt great just having a trip to the ballpark with my dad.  He carried a water thermos on every trip he ever took in his life and this was no exception.  We would get the obligatory hotdog at the stadium, but on the way out of the park we bought a whole bag of soft pretzels for a dollar.  On the way home we dined on quickly hardening soft pretzels and ice cold water from his thermos.  It's funny what memories you will hold on to.

I don't watch as much baseball as I used to.  So much about the game has changed, which is a shame because I always viewed baseball as the perfect game.  I played for 3 years and despite my small stature, I wasn't half bad.  I liked second base; diving for grounders and tagging out runners.  Baseball is a game of strategy as well as physicality.  Its chess in one hand and sports in the other.  Should we leave this pitcher in or bring in the lefty?  Hit and run or straight steal?  Bunt?  

As society is apt to do, we failed to leave a good thing alone.  Our attention spans have gotten shorter so we want our entertainment to be shorter.  "Shorten the game!!" they scream.  So now we eliminated the intentional walk sequence, limited the mound visits, and put the pitcher on a timer.  "Make every call perfect!!" they say.  So we added instant replay and will soon use an automated balls and strikes system. I predicted years ago that this would happen, and will grow until umpires are no longer on the field at all. "Make the game more exciting!!"  they holler.  So we made the DH universal, are looking to limit the shift, and basically made bunts, steals, and hit-and-run plays obsolete.  "Make it safer!!" they implored.  So we don't allow the catcher to block the plate or the runner to slide through the bag to break up a double play.  Its becoming less cerebral and more brute-on-brute than ever before.  It's sad.  Dislodging the ball from the catcher, breaking up a double play, booing a bad call at first, pitching match-ups, and stolen bases made baseball great.  

Perhaps someday I will have a grandchild through Samantha and take them to a ballgame.  It would be fun to say that I attended games with my grandpa, dad, son, and grandchild.  5 generations that enjoyed Americas game even as its changes.

Be well and God bless.   Tom

Click to Comment!

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comment! It will be added once it is reviewed. Have a nice day!