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entering the promised land

today is a great day. i've been wandering around the (sports) wilderness since the beginning of february. you know what i'm talking about here, that nearly 1/6 of the year without football OR baseball. its miserable. its depressing. its winter.

but with spring comes new life. little leaves start pushing their way through the thin bark of branches. tulips rise up with colorful fury. the air stirs and moves and shakes off the crusty cold, signing a new season.

and baseball begins. the wandering in the wilderness ends today for me. at 1:05, carl pavano will throw the first pitch of a (yankee) season that will last into autumn, when those same leaves dry up and fall off the trees. over the next several months there will be the crack of the bat. the smell of leather. the incredibly green grass right up against those dirt-brown basepaths. there will be spitting and signing. there will be grand slams and walk-off homeruns. there may be a no-hitter or even a perfect game. there will be peanuts and cracker jacks and nachos and beer. there will be all-stars and 1-0 games played under the stars. there will be children and adults reaching to catch foul balls. there will be grown men running around trying to catch and hit a little ball.

there will be baseball.

but for me, today, its not just baseball. its the promised land.


ps. its a GREAT sports day for me, because not only is it a sacred baseball day, it is also the NCAA championship basketball game, another chance for the gators to prove their dominance over the buckeye nuts. my bracket for march madness is a mess, and i did terribly. but i DID pick the gators to win it all and that's all that matters now. go gators!


pete said…
Wow, will we ever agree on anything sports-related? GO BUCKEYES!

At least we agree on the greatness of baseball. I'm almost as excited as you are, except that we won't have outdoor games until they finish the stadium maybe next season. I watched the Rookie with Eliot the other day, and it was great sharing one of my favorite movies with him. Kids really help you discover who you always have been, I think.
greg. said…
so true. that is an awesome movie, even if a bit saccharin sweet at times. i love it. i am such a sucker for baseball movies.
the rookie.
field of dreams.
major league (1 AND 2)
for the love of the game

do you have any other favorites?

i was reflecting further on this and really feel that opening day makes me feel like a kid again. it reminds me of my long-standing love affair with baseball. i remember at age 10 or 11 lying in my bed at night after i was supposed to be asleep, listening to my little am radio, WANB, broadcasing pittsburgh pirate games late into the night. i lived and died on every pitch, every description of the game. the game was absolutely alive in my mind, and, in a deeper way, in my soul. there is no denying that it was a huge part of my childhood. and i carry that with me to this day.

opening day is a symbol of baseball in general. and believing that there is something good about baseball in general is part of what it means for me to have faith like a child.
mary said…
how about the classic baseball movie...Angels in the Outfield. or come on now...The Sandlot.
greg. said…
RedBank Billy said…
man, it can't be the dreaded baseball season again!! ugh!!!!!!
JULID said…
awright, lets put everything in "its proper place," to quote a preacher i know. first comes the buckeyes over the gators (and my brackets are not a mess, but i'm winning the assembly of god pool thank you very much). and even if my beloved scarlet and grey go down so what. i love my buckeyes win or lose..
next let's deal with the yankee thing. it's easy being a yankee fan. try being a lifelong tribe fan. this year looks good. better watch out.
love opening day and it's part of the reason i never grew up. we never missed the tribe opening day i guess cuz back in the middle ages you could actually afford to take your whole family to games.
but no worries; we have hi def and tivo. i'll get my tribe fix somehow.
only 4 more months til kickoff classic!!!!!!!!
pete said…
I love the Natural, too. It has some 1980s schmaltziness to it at times, but it's still a great movie. I actually never saw *61 or either of the major league movies. Field of dreams is right up there too--I keep telling myself I'll make it down to Iowa to see where they've built that field--it's not far from here. Bull Durham isn't a bad movie either, even though baseball seems to be only a part of it. And of course Ken Burns' baseball film...what else is there?

Oh, Sandlot 1 is great. It's the southern california baseball summer childhood I never had, but that is dormant in almost every american boy.

you should check out my brother in law's blog, You might like it--he belongs to the Society for American Baseball Research.
greg. said…
billy, baseball season is awesome. shut up.

juli, yeah, umm...looks like you'll be counting down the days to college football.

pete, i will check him out. the natural is an awesome movie. eight men out is also pretty good. i don't think i ever saw the sandlot. the major league movies are pretty stupid comedies, but i love them anyway. *61 is a movie made by billy crystal about the summer of 1961 when maris and mantle were chasing babe ruth's single season home run record. it is set in the context of the 1998 race for the record by mcgwire. it is an awesome baseball movie, if you want my opinion. bull durham is a good movie, too, as you said, and i haven't seen the ken burns one. i did see his series on jazz and absolutely loved it.

ah, man. baseball season feels good.
RedBank Billy said…
greg, I know "shut up," but I can't wait for a warm afternoon myself, when its too hot to cut grass, crack a beer and catch a little bit of a
baseball game (maybe the Mets!!) You know I had to bust your butt!!!
greg. said…
make it the yankees, and i'm there.
mego said…
I can only chime in an add my opinion to one thing - I love the move The Natural. I think I'll have to watch it again. I first saw it when I was pretty young when my parents taped it off of HBO - they didn't want us seeing the one sex scene so they taped over it - with about 30 secs of olympic gymnastics. So as the woman in black walks in the room it cuts to Mary Lou Retton doing backflips. I don't think it would be the same unedited- I'll have to go dig out my parents old copy. :)
greg. said…

that is the greatest story. i seriously laughed out loud when i read it just now, which was dangerous because jack is directly upstairs and could have easily been awakened by my hearty laughter. so thanks for almost waking my sleeping toddler up with that hilarious story.

upon further reflection, i'm not sure which i'd rather my child not see: a sex scene with robert redford, or mary lou retton doing backflips. that's a tough call. parenting is just too hard for me sometimes...

thanks for the belly laugh.


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