Saturday, February 27, 2010

BASEBALL!!! -OR- Hope To Cope

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

When delivered by James Earl Jones in "Field Of Dreams" these words are restorative.

It culminates the restoration of Jones' character Terrance Mann from "Get off my lawn!" iconoclastic resignee to human again. (Well, then he wanders off into the cornfield never to be seen again, but he'd made his peace?)

The first encounter between Mann and Ray Kinsella didn't go quite as well.
Terence Mann: Oh, my God.
Ray Kinsella: What?
Terence Mann: You're from the sixties.
Ray Kinsella: [bashfully] Well, yeah, actually...
Terence Mann: [spraying at Ray with a insecticide sprayer] Out! Back to the sixties! Back! There's no place for you here in the future! Get back while you still can!

My daily life more closely resembles the latter. The one constant for me is my long-suffering wife. Her suffering of my lack of place in this future, is acknowledged, but never weaponized. We're a team. Taking on all comers.

This first weekend of spring training is a mixed bag. As much as I'd like to embrace the harbinger of better days and harken back to the good old days, I'm reminded that even baseball has been cast aside. It is still there to remind us, but has to compete with the ramp-up to the more frenetic, more appropriately named March Madness of the NCAA.

Still, for these first few weeks of the spring rituals in Florida and Arizona, the unlikely unknown still has a shot. At least one walk-on prospect will defy the odds, disprove the experts and get a coveted spot on the major league roster. The rest of us can live vicariously through that experience.

Erased and rebuilt. One blight on our landscape at a time. However unlikely, it is still possible in baseball. What of everything else? Meh, not so much.

But wouldn't it be nice?

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