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The Boys Are Back in Town

1 April 2016 Views From The Booth

2016-opening-dayGreetings once again from the booth!

I’m not sure I can say it any better than James earl Jones’ character, Terrence Mann, in the movie “Field of Dreams:”

The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and it could be again. Ohhh, people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come.”

If only someone could give us a campaign speech like that. Yes, it is time again for Opening Day around Major League Baseball. I know officially that the 2016 season starts on Sunday night, but Opening Day should be for daytime. It’s a day when all things begin again, and hope is renewed. Our teams are all in first place. The grass is somehow greener, the uniforms whiter, the hot dogs tastier. On Opening day, the weather may be rainy, chilly, maybe even snowy in some locales, but we all hold out hope that the Big Manager in the Sky gives us a shirt-sleeve day. I have never been to an Opening Day, but it is a bucket-list item.

I think on a grander scale, baseball, for those of us who think of it as Our National Pastime, does take us back to a time we view in sepia tones, a time when our heroes weren’t tarnished by social media scandals or steroids. A time when America was indeed strong and great, and that greatness was reflected in larger-than-life baseball stars like Ruth, Gehrig, Williams, Musial, Clemente, and the list goes on and on. Like America, baseball has gone through it’s ups and downs, and I think Terrence Mann got it right when he says that we can recapture all that once was good.

On a personal level, Opening Day opens a floodgate of memories for me: baseball cards (yes, the gum included), the smell of a new glove, putting on the uniform, playing catch with my Dad, rushing home from school to watch Bob Gibson pitch in the World Series, breaking my arm one night in Little League All-Star practice, the sound of a fastball cracking into a catcher’s mitt, and my first major league game, walking up that ramp,my breath disappearing as I looked out over that beautiful green outfield. Baseball is all of those things to me.

The Grand Old Game is like a first love. It fades from our consciousness as other interests take it’s place over time, the memories packed away,distant and bittersweet. On Opening Day, we unpack, and our love of baseball is again renewed.

That’s it from the Booth…PLAY BALL!

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