Why You Should Go To The Ballgame (In Case You Forgot!)

Photo Credit: John Lott

All anyone can seem to talk about in regards to the Blue Jays is the attendance, or lack thereof.  Yes, the Blue Jays have the lowest average attendance per game in the majors at just a shade above 15,000 and that is helped out due to a near sellout crowd on opening day.  To be quite honest, I am growing weary of hearing about the topic every day and the focus being shifted away from how the players are playing on the field. So, I’ll solve the issue once and for all by addressing it here in a blog post.

There is no greater feeling than spending an afternoon at the ballpark.

Doubtless there are better places to spend summer days, summer nights than in ballparks.  Countless. Nevertheless, decades after a person has stopped collecting bubblegum cards, s/he can still discover him/herself collecting ballpark memories. And not just the ballpark itself and surrounding neighbourhoods, their smells, their special seasons and moods.  Quaint? Sure.  Beautiful? Maybe.  However, when the sun is bright and the air crisp and your seat seems close to the action than the on-deck hitter, every hardship in your real life is forgotten.

Here’s the fancied green of our wishes
Here, where I still think the ballplayers are older than I
This is where they’re unreasonably adept
Where our failure is turned inside out
By quick hands and an always white ball
I sit in section 9, and sometimes wonder why
But I know I am at ground zero, where art is made

 

Think back to when you were a child.  The stands looked enormous, the outfielders cavorting in the outfield looked miles away from you.  This cavernous cathedral that you went to that was vast.  And as a child, everything looked so large and bigger than life in your mind’s eye.  A great many of us think back to baseball in connection with our fathers.  Maybe our grandfathers.  Uncles.  With people who played particular games at sometime, but also with whom we went to particular games with.  Also people we played catch with.  There is something historical about baseball.

When you walk through the gate to see the field shining in front of you, you are not back in time; you are outside of time.  For one moment we are 62 years old; we are 12 years old; we are 40 years old and the game exists in some island outside of time, some eternal present, a corridor into eternity.

There are wonderful pauses in the game of baseball
I love the moment just before the pitch
When the batter is all attent and coiled
and no longer wagging his bat
and the pitcher is leaning forward, just before he rocks back
You get that again and again and you don’t breathe
at that moment
everything is halted.

and then, God knows, for the post part
100 times a game
virtually nothing happens
The batter looks on, it’s a strike or a ball
and the pitcher winds up again

We wind up this toy and it is set to spring
and then it springs

People are running on the basepaths
All hell is breaking loose
for a minute, maybe just a few seconds
and then we come back to pause

It is a magic and mystical moment.

Is baseball in Toronto dead? Hardly.  There are 525,000 viewers tuning in to watch our boys in blue.  If less than a 10th of them showed up to the park we would have a full house.

Wasn’t this the most fun ever? We should do it. Every day. Why not?

Time is of the essence
The rhyhthms break
more varied and subtle than any kind of dance

Movement speeds up or lags
The balls goes out in sharp, angular drives
or long slow arcs
comes in again, controlled and under aim

The players wheel or spurt, race, stoop, slide, halt
Shift imperceptibly to new positions
Watching the signs according to the batter
the score, the inning
time is of the essence

A shadow moves from the plate to the box
from the box to second base, from second to the outfield
time is of the essence

A crowd and players of the same age always
but the man in the crowd is older, every season

Come on, play ball.

Baseball permeates our soul and elevates our heart.  Baseball is a game for dreamers.  Its ebbs and flows conducive to using your imagination.  Players’ movements exude elegance and artistry.

There is no greater feeling than spending an afternoon at the ballpark.

P.S. Hard glove smack to the hind quarters of Go Jays Go, from whom I pilfered a few images.

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