Skip to main content

play ball!

its green like you've never imagined. until you've seen it. and then once you've seen it, it is often in your dreams and always in your memory. its greener than life, wider than you think, and perfectly flat like a tight canvas.

its a baseball field, and all kinds of stories are painted in colorful strokes on them. its really the only thing i remember about my first professional baseball game. i know that it was three rivers stadium, but i don't know who the pirates played, who won, or even what summer it was. what i do remember is the moment that the cold grey confines of that stadium by the rivers gave way in my little line of sight to a panarama of the greatest and greenest green i had ever seen. i'm not sure what kind of a baseball fan i was at that time, but whatever my affections before that day in the 80's, i am certain what they were after: i was in love.

as with so much childhood magic, this love affair could have easily reached irreconciable differences as i grew up and became a more jaded adult. it wasn't long before i learned that the grass at three rivers wasn't grass at all, but astroturf, like on grandma's porch. fake. i learned that some of the players, who got to play this game nearly everyday of their lives, didn't do it because they loved it but because they loved the money. i learned that they were even willing to go on strike from playing a game because they didn't get paid enough.

that was a dark day for my relationship with baseball. we almost broke up. but at some point i remembered the green. i remembered the joy. i remembered my little sweaty hand inside my george brett-signed glove, hoping that foul ball would come to me - a free baseball! i remembered lying in bed at night, secretly pressing my little hand-held radio against my ear, holding it just right so it would clearly receive the signal from WANB, the local AM station that broadcast pirates games. i remembered saving my coins to run up the corner store for a pack of topps cards and a stick of crumbly pink gum. and i fell in love again. i memorized. i watched. i read. i played.

and the love affair continues to this day. it doesn't really matter who's playing. i love the sport - the numbers, the leather, the crack of the bat, the smell of summer, the stats, the hot dogs, and that green and brown canvas, where the drama of baseball unfolds. i love baseball.

which is why i'm excited today. in about an hour we will be leaving for jackson's first baseball game. actually, he want to a yankees game in 2005, but he was way too little to realize what was happening. here's a picture of him and i at that game in yankee stadium.

tonight's game of the bridgeport bluefish against the somerset patriots will be the first game that he's aware of. and he's excited. he's been learning the words: bat, baseball, mitt, catcher, and "the yankees win!" he throws the ball and yells, "strike!" he's bringing his little glove. and so he's excited. but not nearly as excited as his daddy.
play ball!


mary said…
that sounds like so much fun!!! He is going to love it! I want to get to a baseball game this summer too! you must post pictures. yup.
Dan said…
Greg, I can't wait to take Joel to his first baseball game. To explain what is going on, talking strategy, trying to steal signs from the coach, and of course hot dogs, fries and all of the typical ballpark food.

Popular posts from this blog


i made these comments and prayed the following prayer at one of our worship services at SPWF yesterday, and had a few folks asked if i would post them, so there they are: 
It has been a season of terrible tragedy.  And I have noticed in the news a trending phrase: thoughts and prayers.  It even has its own hashtag on twitter and other social media, but net necessarily in a good way.  People are understandably tired of hearing about others’ thoughts and prayers, when that is only a thinly-veiled way of saying that our only obligation to those who suffer is a brief moment of silence, or nothing more than a tweet or public statement.  The truth is that, for those of us who follow Jesus, much is required when our neighbors suffer.  We are called to do justice where we can, to love kindness and mercy, and to walk with God through it all.  But let us be careful not to throw out the proverbial baby with the bathwater.  We are, as people of faith, those who know that prayer is not simply an em…

a divided tree

there is a tree in my back yard.  i'm pretty sure it's an oak tree.  at least that's what i think Shannon told me.  i don't know my oaks from my maples, my elms from my locusts.  to me, it's a tree: a corinthian column bursting up into life and glory.  full of sap and pulp and rings and bugs and cells pulsing with water and always reaching for something.  it is full of rhythm, reach and flourish then fall and die, and repeat. 

this particular tree, though, isn't of one mind. 

half of it's rusted orange leaves have given up their grip and surrendered -gracefully or not - to the pull of gravity and the threat of winter.  the north side of this inauspicious oak is just about bare naked, all sticks and straight lines, a skeleton of itself.  but the side that looks south is stubbornly resisting change.  no longer green, the leaves have compromised their summer vibrancy, but they are clearly not ready to concede death just yet. 

i feel like i can relate to this …

thankful right now

"if the only prayer you ever say in your life is 'thank you,' it will be enough." -Meister Eckhart

"thanksgiving is inseparable from prayer." -John Wesley

i've been thinking about gratitude quite a bit this week, and how to foster a thankful spirit in the midst of the barrage of bad news that for me is punctuated by yet another "breaking news" notification on my phone, interrupting the busyness of my day to rudely remind me that the world's brokenness knows nothing of limits or boundaries, not to mention my schedule or sanity.  still, the bad news keeps coming. 

i just scrolled through my most recent notifications just from the last few days and they contain phrases like "crimes against humanity," "57 million users hacked, but not reported," "alleged pattern of sexual abuse," and "extremely disturbing," just to name a few.  how am i supposed to be present at a staff meeting when my phone is buzzing …