There’s a simplicity to baseball. I’m not a big sports fan, but I’ve always liked the game. There’s a gentleness to it. Even the words that describe the action are benevolent home, safe, walk, catch, aboard, home run, grand slam.
Baseball was my father’s passion. He and my brother, Anthony, were Red Sox fans. They’d sit on the back porch with a transistor radio listening to Curt Gowdy’s play-by-play. As I recall, despite their enthusiasm for the team, they were often disappointed in the outcome. They cheered anyway, and I cheered with them on that back porch in the late afternoon sun. My mother tolerated the noise, and sometimes brought out popcorn, but she tried to discourage my participation. Baseball was not for girls.
When I was in high school, I attended every home baseball game played in the field beside the fire hall. Sometimes my dad would come with me and my best friend Marie. Those afternoons are precious memories. Tommy W. had a great backdoor slider and struck out one unsuspecting batter after another.
These days I watch the Phillies on television, but it’s been a long time since we’ve attended a game in person. Once baseball was America’s pastime. I wonder if we would be better off as a society if it still were. Maybe not.