I miss baseball. I miss the crackle of AM radio, disappearing into static as a crowd reaches fever pitch. The gravel throated banter of the announcers, voices flattened in the mono, talking in slow loping sentences that somehow smell of worn leather and fresh cut grass as they meander out of the crackling speakers.
I haven’t actually sat and watched or listened to a game in years, not even the playoffs. Or maybe even especially the playoffs. The playoffs were never the point, any more than the sprint to the finish line is the point of a marathon.
As an adult, baseball became eclipsed by football. Football is a physical chess game, all urgency and passion. Intensity and violence surging, every game mattering, every play mattering, every moment mattering. Baseball lopes and rambles where football sprints and charges.
Football didn’t matter as much as a kid. Because it was only one day a week, and for a kid there are seven days in a week, so the grid iron dramas would flare out and fade by midweek, and yet there was still a baseball game on the radio in the afternoon, every afternoon. An adult, with work and kids and errands, with all the responsibilities that fill the week, for them baseball is an incomprehensible thing, an exhausting and tiring past time. Baseball is the game of children because it’s a patient eternity every afternoon.
I miss the rhythm of it. And it’s not really baseball I’m missing, so much as the life and mind that could love it. The slow and steady. The patient heartbeat of day after day. Losing a game in football is like losing ten straight in baseball. Baseball ever so more than football, is a game of inches. Of the small victories and small defeats, adding or subtracting to the ledger in incremental patience.
It’s a game of nostalgia, for the days of youth when every afternoon lasted forever. But I think it’s always been a game of nostalgia. It’s always been a game that reminded us of that even when it was still young and the world was in black and white.
Did you win or lose in life? It doesn’t really matter at the end, because you lived. The journey eclipses the destination. Baseball’s that way, each game so small that you can take joy in the little moments.
And as the wise sage and eminent slugger Yogi Berra said, you don’t remember the years, you remember the moments.