I love baseball – possibly because it has been my go to since I was a kid. Summers were not always the easiest time for me and my respite was the sound of baseball. Either watching it on TV or listening to the radio. The voices of summer when I was a kid was the threesome of Lindsey Nelson, Ralph Kiner and Bob Murphy. Out of the three, Bob Murphy was my favorite – his voice and his passion for the game would paint a masterpiece with his descriptions. His voice would fill with drama, comedy and even a musical. From his microphone to my transistor radio I would close my eyes be transported to Candlestick Park, Three Rivers Stadium, Shea Stadium or the Astrodome – among others. I would close my eyes and I would hear the sound of a bat hitting the baseball, the roar of a crowd and imagine the bright colors of the baseball diamond and the uniforms. I would sense the tension in the dugouts, see the runners on the bases and the threesome at home plate – batter, catcher and umpire.
So you see it’s not the winning and the losing that truly enamores me to the game. It’s the camaraderie of the players – the leadership of the manager and the coaches and the parameters of the game.
The 90 feet between bases – never less and never more – 60 feet and 6 inches between home plate and the pitchers mound – never less and never more. The dimensions are the same whether in Brooklyn or in San Francisco, Pittsburgh or in Arlington. The proportions are based on equality – there are no aberrations in these distances and no shortcuts – if you want to get from home plate – travel around the diamond and then end up back at home – you need to travel the same amount of ground as everyone else.
Then it’s the pitcher versus the batter. The many different choices in the pitchers arsenal – curveball, fastball, slider, knuckleball and others – which one first? Which location? Inside, outside, low and away, high and tight – it’s choices are varied on the pitchers strengths, the hitters weaknesses and the situation on the bases, the score and if the wind is blowing which way. It’s a never ending matchup between the pitcher and the hitter – the fielders behind the pitcher and the elements on field all taken into consideration. What is the score? Who is up next? What inning is it? Righty or lefty? The strategy is endless with so many variables it’s close to an infinite guessing game. People who watch the game and consider it boring lack the understanding of a chess match with bats, balls and gloves. That suits me fine – it’s my game, after all, my respite from the real world.
The spring and summer time weather which influences the clothing worn by the women in the world. The warm breeze blowing as the waves collapse onto the shore and the feel of the sand on my feet. The sunshine on my face as I lay on a chair and focus on the heat.
Cold glass of water and lightly salted sunflower seeds.
Ravioli, Spaghetti and anything really with tomato sauce and cheese.
A big ass rib steak on the bone barbecued to perfection.
A newborn baby’s smell and the feeling of when they fall asleep on my chest.
Sunrises on the boardwalk, the beach in front of me and a lady walking from the water carrying her heels and wearing a nightgown from last night’s event. She smiles at me and I smile back…stale perfume and unkempt hair falling onto her face.
Sunrise and a boat in the water, a lone person with a fishing rod and drinking from a silver cup.
An elderly couple walking hand in hand – anywhere.
A stormy evening after a hot and humid day, waking up to a cool morning…
Flowers at first bloom, the aroma of freshly cut grass and a hammock between two trees a cold drink on my side.
A lake with swans, ducks and a geese landing in V formation gently on the water.
A good book, a comfortable chair and a good cup of coffee.
An empty sheet of paper and a pen.
A blank screen and a good crossword puzzle.
My children and my wife around a table – laughing and celebrating…
My father’s smile and my mother’s love
Jessica, again and again and forever…
Love – is there anything better? Hugs, kisses and hugs and kisses.
Holding hands and stopping to embrace each other…
Long showers, swimming pools and rivers…
The sound of laughter and the feeling of singing with friends.
Memories of friendships and scenes from another lifetime.
Being connected and accessing knowledge from anywhere and any time.
Google – fucking google.
Cursing or using other ways to express excitement, anger or foolishness.
Fatherhood…there is nothing quite as humbling and as exhilarating as being a father.
A four day weekend and a full bank account.
Eating out and not worrying about anything.
Flying on an airplane with my loved ones and going someplace special together.
Snow storms and no school days – hot chocolate and marshmallows. Chicken soup with matzo balls and some rye bread for dipping.
Rain splattering on the ground outside my window as I lay under the cover warmed by love. The sounds of the cars passing – silence in the mid night. A full moon, a rainbow and a hot sun caressing me. The stars in the sky – or are those planets? Crickets singing loudly with the occasional owl.
Watching TV, going to a movie, listening to music in my car, with the windows down and my hands playing piano and drums on the dashboard.
Giving…accepting and enjoying. Smiles, laughter and tears of joy…applause, standing ovations and encores.
More to come…