God, Baseball, Freckles and Possibilities

Published: Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 09:51 AM.

Someone asked Saturday at the little league field if I was as excited about this “new baseball season” as always. I assured them that I was hoping to “play two” that very day. I explained that when the sun came up in the morning, I saw stitches around it. And I went into my “God invented baseball speech”……

I don’t know how I got into baseball. I think my Father or older brother rolled a ball toward me a lifetime ago. And I rolled it back. The game, since that moment has certainly held a fascination for me. It has been more than just a way to while away some hours. It has brought joy, pain, anguish and laughter. It has been a magnificent friend and occasionally, it has been the epitome of the agony of defeat. It has been more than a “meal ticket” or an “outlet”. If you feel like talking, baseball is alive with jargon, nicknames and “inside dope”. But there is nothing more silent than rounding first base and putting your head down and trying to beat the right fielder’s one-hop throw into second! It is such a team sport and yet, the team can’t will you to run faster than you can run.

It is a game that is universal in an instant and yet, it remains so personal on so many levels.

The major league season kicks off this week. You can scratch your head over how much the players make these days; or how many games ESPN can show in one week; or how Houston will look in the American League. You can renew old rivalries against the Cubs or BoSox or the Yankees. You can magically transport yourself back to the days when the freckles outnumbered all but the possibilities.

Every team has a chance in April.

Everyone is a three hundred hitter coming out of the Easter break.

It didn’t always seem so clear cut for me. My anxieties had anxieties. I wasn’t sure I was in the same league with Wesley Beal, Bo Booth or Billy Bradley. I wasn’t the best player or the worst. Thank goodness Wesley and the others didn’t show up at the field over by Bethel College pondering on aptitude or social standings. We chose up sides and went to playing baseball. You didn’t have to “fit in”, you just grabbed a glove and sauntered out toward shortstop.

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