World Series

A pox...

I believe in diversity and I believe in tolerance, and I can prove it. I have friends who are Cubs fans and I have friends who are Cardinals fans and I still accept them. They are welcome in our home and they know it, showing up for our First Friday gatherings, as well as other times, with regularity, making those times more fun. I am okay with their wearing their teams' paraphernalia and keeping me up to date with their teams' successes and failures. They are intelligent fans who know the game, appreciate the history of their teams, and are aware of the thousands of statistics that only major league baseball can generate (right-handed hitting Ernie Forbles' batting average the day after a night game on the road in June when the sun is shining and lefty reliever Portnoy Rackowitz is pitching with  a 2-1 count).

My friendship and expansive tolerance is partly based on sympathy because, with the Cubs every century or so with a World Series championship notwithstanding, their teams are, well, inferior. Inferior to what, you might ask. Inferior to my team, for 62 years now, the Boston Red Sox. We have better fans, history, ballpark, city, players, management, and more nuns in the stands.

But tolerance and welcoming diversity only go so far, and they do not include embracing fans of the Forces of Evil, the New York Yankees. A pox on their houses

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

panoramic-view-baseball-field I love baseball. And for all of you coming up with reasons for why you don't love baseball, know that I will ignore them.

It's that time of year when all the big league teams are undefeated and hoping or believing they'll win the World Series this season. Spring training is in full swing and the stories of older players hoping for one last season ("I'm in the best shape of my life") and rookies hoping for that first season ("I think I can, I think I can") abound.

I love baseball.The games are not restricted to a shot clock, halftime report, or endless time outs. The game begins with the first pitch and ends with the last pitch and that can be any length of time. So what? What's the hurry? Take time for a conversation with the guy in the seat next to you, go up to the concession stand for a brat and beer, watch the entire field instead of being limited to what the camera allows. Keep score. Take. Your. Time.

Catch a few rays. Consider strategy. Guess how many ways a runner can score from third base (I came up with 11 just off the top of my head), keep score.

I love baseball. It smells good. Leather gloves, baseballs, freshly-cut grass, the scent of pine tar on bats, resin on the ball.

I love baseball. It sounds good. The crack of bat on ball (send all aluminum bats to hell), a fastball popping into the catcher's kit, runners running, umpires calling a player out.

I love baseball. It looks good. The manicured field, the green grass and brown of the skinned infield, the open sky, the ads on the outfield walls, the Green Monster in Fenway, the ivy in Wrigley Field.

Go to a game. Turn off your cell phone. Better yet, leave the stupid thing at home. Watch, listen, smell. Relax. You'll be glad.

I love baseball.

Real Romantic

two_towers_024 Valentine's Day is looming and so I'm going to come right out and say it: I am a romantic. The Oxford English Dictionary's second defintion of romantic is, "of, characterized by, or suggestive of an idealized view of reality. . . " Further, the OED defines "idealized" as "regard or represent as perfect or better than reality."

My idealized view of reality has many faces. For example, I believe certain scenes in movies are real. The battle scenes in The Lord of the Rings, for example, are real and make my heart swell every time I see them. They make me want to participate. I believe, and I don't want any additional footage trying to convince me that special effects, camera angles, and choreography were involved. I DON'T WANNA HEAR IT!

Another face of my romanticism works for me in literature. For example, I believe every word of The Life of Pi. I believe the story. I believe Richard Parker was a real tiger and that he and Pi made it to Mexico and Richard Parker strolled off into the jungle and found a girl tiger and they had cubs and a nice habitat and pizza delivery. So don't tell me Richard Parker was a symbol for something else. He was a tiger.

Also, I tend to be a romantic when it comes to sports. I believe my Iowa Hawkeyes will win next year's BCS championship and this year's Final Four. And the Red Sox will win the next World Series.

Finally, I must say that my romantic view of my long-suffering wife is based on facts that interface perfectly with "an idealized view of reality" and "perfect or better than in reality." You can look it up.