Writer, Church leader, Eccentric Nut, Marketer

I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

20 February 2009

In cur sun-down perambulations of late

I have a print hanging in my den of the first game of organized baseball in 1846 at Elysian Fields, that I bought at little shop in Cooperstown New York. A month after that game was played, a very young Walt Whitman wrote in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

"In cur sun-down perambulations of late, through the outer parts of Brooklyn, we have observed several parties of youngsters playing 'base', a certain game of ball. We wish such sights were more common among us.

Enjoy life a little. Let us go forth a while and get better air in our lungs. Let us leave our close rooms. The game of ball is glorious."

Whitman fell in love with baseball in it's infancy. He wrote extensively about it's social and physical handsomeness. Miners, masons, machinists and mechanics in motion on brilliant green grass. He said, "America's game: has the snap, go, fling of the American atmosphere."

Baseball lends itself to the pen

As I read about Alex Rodriquez's quickly unraveling lies built upon lies, I can't help but think about Ray Kinsella's exchange with Shoeless Joe Jackson in the Field of Dreams adaption of WP Kinsella's "Shoeless Joe". Shoeless Joe Jackson has just hit baseballs for the first time in decades. Not unlike the sad drama playing out today, Joe had what he loved yanked away from him after giving into greed.

Ray: Bet it's good to be playing again
Shoeless Joe: I did love this game. I'd have played for food money. It was the game... The sounds, the smells. Did you ever hold a ball or a glove to your face?
Ray: Yeah.
Shoeless Joe: I used to love travelling on the trains from town to town. The hotels... brass spittoons in the lobbies, brass beds in the rooms. It was the crowd, rising to their feet when the ball was hit deep. Shoot, I'd play for nothing.

I wonder if Alex, Sammy, Mac, Raffy, Rocket... will have a moment like this one day and remember why they played the game as boys in tiny corn-fed towns and unknown Caribbean fields.

When I first heard Ray Liotta's question about holding a glove to my face, I remembered the afternoon naps I used to take with my baseball glove over my face. Just so I could smell it.

One of the most vivid images in my mind's eye is that of the large oak tree just past the left field fence of the ballpark I played night games at. The tree was just beyond the light post so the cool night shadows contrasted the glancing artificial light rays... making the dusk river-dew shimmer. I used to look at the tree, close my eyes and reopen them... trying to capture the image of perfection for eternity.

"Have either of you spent any time in an empty ballpark? There's something both eerie and holy about it... A ballpark at night is more like a church than a church"
WP Kinsella

I used to enjoy doing baseball pools with my friends. I still do one, but it's more about my friends than the pool. Keeping track of the stats of the players doesn't interest me much any more, but I would watch a baseball game every night if I could. In fact I'd much sooner watch than play. Because baseball in itself is beautiful.

I like to think that, just maybe, I can see what Walt Whitman saw in his cur sun-down perambulations... back when the game of ball was glorious.

1 comment:

Patti said...

Baseball - another sign of spring. Aaahhhh.

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