Monday, February 27, 2012

The Baseball Crowd

Yesterday was a beautiful day. We spent some quality family time at the playground basking in the sun. There are tight pink buds on the magnolia tree that surrounds our balcony. Bunny and Easter egg paraphernalia is abundant. This can only mean one thing—baseball is near.

I have spent an enormous amount of my life in baseball: as a fan of my college and professional teams growing up— mostly through the scratchy radio my dad had on in the garage, a big fan of my brothers’ and sister’s teams— I was a fixture in the spring and summer stands, and plenty of time in cleats in the dirt and grass myself. There is and always will be something magical about baseball to me, and I hope we can instill a love a love of the game in our boys.

We're teaching the boys to love the game!
There is something special about sharing baseball with friends. I have only a couple baseball friends, among them my dad, siblings, and a couple former college professors. They are the ones I hear from when there’s a big trade or an amazing game (Game 6 World Series last fall!) or when something reminds them of a certain baseball moment we witnessed as children. 

This weekend, one of the friends I shared a lot of growing-up baseball moments with sent me a link to the spring training schedule from right where she now lives in Arizona. With that one little link she sent me so many memories—crying together in her room after our Mariners were eliminated from the postseason in ’95, long road trips to Seattle, and countless hours arranging and trading baseball cards. 

About six years ago I met another girl baseball fan who also remembers where she was during the last game of most of the World Series,’ what it is like to live and die with a favorite team, and feels the urge to go throw a ball around on those first spring days.

In honor of this first week of spring training, and of my baseball friends, I’d like to share this poem by one of my favorite poets, William Carlos Williams, about being a spectator of baseball.

It's fun to see how much Clark loves baseball.
The crowd at the ball game
is moved uniformly

by a spirit of uselessness
which delights them—

all the excited detail
of the chase

and the escape, the error
the flash of genius—

all to no end save beauty
the stretch, and the pitch...
the eternal—

so in detail they, the crowd,
are beautiful

for this
to be warned against

saluted and defied—
It is alive, venomous

it smiles grimly
its words cut—

The flashy female with her
mother, gets it—

The Jew gets it straight- it
is deadly, terrifying—

baseball brother love
It is the Inquisition, the

It is beauty itself
that lives

Day by day in them

This is
the power of their faces

It is summer, it is solstice
the crowd is

cheering, the crowd is laughing
in detail

permanently, seriously
without thought

-William Carlos Williams

Me, circa 1990, getting ready for a big t-ball game

"I see great things in baseball." -Walt Whitman

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