Rediscovering the Art of Fielding
April 7, 2013 § Leave a comment
First, let us begin by acknowledging that it is just past 1AM and I am awake. I have read a new magazine*, watched a rather mindless episode of The Good Wife from season 1**, and listened to an entire 43 minutes of Tara Brach telling me how to better accept myself. And then I decided to accept the fact that I could not sleep and got out of bed. Why fight it? Right, Tara?
It seems however, that I am not alone…
If you look closely, there are some other lights on in the neighborhood. Why do I suspect they are on because people are just getting home from something fun or are doing a 1AM feeding?
Anyway, this is not the point of this post. This is:
I imagine that I don’t strike anyone as a someone who is into sports. And for the most part, this is true. However, I was brought up in a Baseball Family, and while the Yankees were the Family Team (and still mine), I spent a rather large part of my teens at Mets games c/o Nelson Doubleday and the fact that my Dad worked for him. While I may not have truly appreciated the choice seats we always had at those games (I felt as if I knew Gary Carter because I was always right near him), I did learn a thing or two during those years. And of course, ’86 made me a little obsessed and I got in deeper. Then college rolled around and I just about never thought about baseball again.
Until last winter when I read this wonderful book: Chad Harbach’s The Art of Fielding***. The book is about baseball and then not about baseball. But the passages about actually playing the game were so beautifully written that I found myself right back in 1986, with better hair, I hope. (Those scenes are almost topped by the conversations among these young men while they are trying to become amazing ball players. It felt so honest to me…but I digress.) After I finished the book, I moved on to another and kind of forgot that I was into baseball once again.
And then some extremely cool friends of ours invited us to a suite at Yankee Stadium to see the second game of their season.
Let me begin by saying that being indoors with the option to be outdoors — that included a fully stocked bar to make sure that you were “toasty” in the 30-degree temperature — is really the best possible way to get reintroduced to the joys of a live game. (To my knowledge, I never was able to sip on tequila while watching the Mets. It rather does take the edge off crap weather.) Mr. H and I arrived a little bit before the others, because I hate being late and am therefore often early. The upside here is that I was able to geek out a bit and first have a giggle at this important warning:
However, I will be truthful and tell you that I read “bats” as you know, BATS. Those flying things that scare the hell out of me. Only later did I realize they meant baseball bats. Still, at the height we were at, I am not super clear as to how I could have gotten hit with a baseball bat, so maybe my confusion was reasonable.
Then there was the field:
Just seeing it got me kind of psyched for a game I knew my team was going to lose. And lose they did. But it didn’t matter. I simply find the art and ritual of the game to be very pleasing. The pitchers getting warmed up…the batters waiting for their turn, even if they know the guy before them is going to make this waiting and prep unnecessary…the catcher pretty much feeling like the heart of the team, keeping everyone together. Heck, I even get excited when they play the National Anthem.
And then there is the fabulous part of watching it all with your friends. Laughing over a shared disapproval of a particular player, wondering why they were all wearing “baseball slacks” rather than the usual bottoms, and all deciding that even though it was 30 degrees outside, we would get our butts out there and watch the final inning together. In the cold, like our own little team.
A wonderful way to remember a love that was forgotten.
* Bullet. I like the intent and hope they stop with some of the weird type and typesetting. No margins isn’t cool…it just looks wrong. But do check them out online to get a flavor: http://bullettmedia.com/magazine/
** Is this show worth my time? I can’t tell yet, but I feel like lots of people love it.
*** Just in case: http://www.amazon.com/The-Art-Fielding-A-Novel/dp/0316126675
(Photos: Some Cozy Night)