On a Beach Walk: #69 (Baseball – The Season)

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(Part 2 of 3)

I like walking the beach. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

Every mid-February while many are in the midst of winter’s firm grip, the time as come for pitchers and catchers to report for Spring Training.

February-March is the time of the year when baseball hearts emerge from the cold ground as those initial shoots of daffodils. A time when interest and hope are in the air as our Boys of Summer prepare for the annual Rite of Spring.

To baseball fans, spring is a time of hope, resurrection, and anticipation – a time for believing this is the year. To some, that hope may be dashed by mid-May, but hearts remain loyal to their team. There’s always next year! Even while languishing in the cellar, hearts still rejoice with each win – and feels low with each loss.

Baseball is a game played by fan favorites – the icons and legends. Lovers of the game can feel the presence of Ruth, Cobb, Gehrig, Hornsby, and Musial while cherishing the Big Train, the Iron Horse, Wee Willie, Double X, and many more. Unfortunately, most if us knew very little about Satch, Josh, and Cool Papa.

Baseball fans know their childhood heroes as Charlies Hustle, Yaz, Doggie, Little Joe, the Say-Hey Kid, Duke, Mr. Cub, and Pops while fearing the Big Swish, King Kong, and Killer.

Baseball fans appreciate generational links as Ken Griffey Senior and Junior – the 3 generations of Boones or Bells.

The successful careers of brothers as the Alous is difficult to comprehend – let alone contemplating that Boog Powell should have been one of them.

Baseball – that national fascination that grew with the Golden Age of Radio. The game causing families to gather around a large box in the living room to cheer their heroes. A game that a future US President would recreate in a studio from a telegraphic ticker.

Every city has revered radio announcers – names that fans elsewhere may not know – but to locals, these are trusted voices who speak for them. Therefore, it is fitting that the hallowed halls of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York has an announcer’s wing – yet each fan prefers the voice of the one from our team.

I grew up in a time when people listened to many more games than watching. The Reds on TV were a rare treat to be savoured and not missed.

There was a time when Opening Day was Cincinnati’s day – a day all of baseball reserved for its first professional team – a day marking the season’s beginning for the entire baseball universe. This was done at a time before baseball sold its soul to cable TV in the name of money – even opening on another continent – but Cincinnatians ignore everyone and keep its traditions by hosting their Opening Day like no other place.

Baseball season is a marathon – not a sprint. The joy of today will be tempered by the sadness of tomorrow – and that tomorrow will provide the hope for another chance at joy.

There was a time when the October classic was fittingly named and didn’t crown a champion on a cold night in late October or early November. The end of the World Series truly meant the arrival of fall instead of the trumpeting of winter. A time when the leaves would swirl in empty stadiums and the ivy on Wrigley’s walls would go dormant – a time when colder temperatures were nearing, but not here yet.

As snows gather on the northern pallacial diamonds – yet we fans wait as flower bulbs below the snow-covered surface for the return of that annual Rite of Spring.

Baseball season is one of the many cycles of life – just like birds flying south for the winter – just like I vacate my northern outpost. After all, walking the beach is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

49 thoughts on “On a Beach Walk: #69 (Baseball – The Season)

  1. It’s not even mid January, but we- meaning you and me- are feeling it. Pitchers and catchers, nary a month away now. And the mystery of another season beckons.

    Double XX . . . that Jimmie Foxx. Pox on those Red Sox! 😉 Cool Papa Bell, one of the best names the diamond has ever known. And Joe D, one of the coolest. And not for nothing but a game that can produce names like Biff Picoroba and Rowland Office . . . that there is a game worth keeping hold of.

    There is no game like this game. Defined inside a square patch of earth, but limited by nothing. Poetry, and limitless at that.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ah, the good old days. I’m glad I grew up in that era when baseball was the rage. I really hope to see a resurgence of interest in the game, Frank. I’ve seen our stadium sadly so empty when there is a baseball game going on. Thank you for this post as I walked down memory lane.

    Liked by 2 people

    • AmyRose,
      Glad this triggered your memories. The game is about hope for one’s team – but if a team goes through a long stretch of non-winning seasons, fans will stop attending games. They may still watch, listen, follow, and more – but will save their money and money for something else.

      Liked by 2 people

        • There is no question that the hope of fans is across all sports. No question in my mind that extended losing seasons also affects attendance in all sports. No question that winning is the cure! I think most fans what their team to be competitive – to have a chance – to give them a reason to justify their hope.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for Part 2 of your baseball post. In the video my two favorite uniform photos are Stan Musial’s in freeze frame 0:31 complete with grass stained super-baggy pants, and also the giant wishbone C on the jersey of the player following that. By the way, who is that guy?

    Concerning the question of who gave Willie Mays his nickname of “Say Hey” – I’m going with sports journalist Jimmy Cannon who created the nickname because Mays did not know everybody’s names when he arrived in the minors. “You see a guy, you say, ‘Hey, man. Say hey, man,'” Mays said. Cannon, who was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame for his coverage of the sport, is famously quoted – “A rabid sports fan is one that boos a TV set.”

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I absolutely love the passion that baseball fans bring to the game. I had an occasion to attend a AAA game in Corpus Christi and soaked in all the discussion that was going on around me. There were stats about the batters, pitchers, and fielders. The entire stand seemed to know the game intimately which was very impressive. Also, even more impressive was the fact that all these strangers became one family that afternoon. You and Pilgrim could go on forever. I envy that attention to detail and joy of the game.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Gee Frank, this was so beautifully written. To baseball fans, spring is a time of hope, resurrection, and anticipation –That could apply to life across the board, baseball fan or not. I remember in Field of Dreams when Ray Liotta, as Shoeless Joe, describes the ball field..the grass, the smells. It was such a lovely litany, a homage to the sport.
    You did as well. Again, it’s beautiful. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susannah,
      Knowing that you are a baseball fan makes your comment even more special. Thank you. Now I’m thinking – I wonder how many more topics (fitting for a walk) I could have written on baseball? Hmmmmm ….

      Liked by 1 person

      • You have me musing on all my favorite baseball movies, like when Glenn Close as Iris, stands up in the stadium like an angel in a hat when Roy hits that homer. And in Love of the Game, when Jane, asks Billy, “You ever gotten your heart broken?’ And he says, “Yeah, when we lost the pennant in 87.” And that kids really buy baseball cards, for the gum.” Can’t leave out, The pride of the Yankees when Jimmy Stewart delivers Lou’s famous speech…“For the past two weeks you have been reading about a bad break. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” You’ve popped a file Frank. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Your comment has given me a glow for my morning. Plus, love your descriptions of those scenes.

          I previously mentioned “It Happens Every Spring.” Loved it as a kid at the start of baseball season. Kind of corny, but still has stuck with me throughout life. Haven’t seen it in many, many years – but that won’t be true much longer because I found it. FINALLY! … and I’ll share. https://archive.org/details/ItHappensEverySpring

          Liked by 1 person

        • Baseball isn’t called The Great American Pastime for nothing. It lingers in memory savoring the innocence of childhood. Sandlots, Little League. Your first glove. Dad and you playing catch. I’m a girl and remember tossing a ball in the backyard. 😊

          Liked by 1 person

        • I’ll say. I remember going to Billy Martin’s wake at Campbell’s. I loved him. The maverick that he was. I lived across the street from the funeral home so I stopped by. I’ve also visited The Babe in upstate New York, his grave piled with baseballs, pints of Whiskey. Notes. It’s rather heartening in its ghoulish way. I went to Whitey Ford’s funeral at St. Pats. Yes, I’m a fan alright.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Fans have their heroes, yet recognize them as humans. At my end, I think many Reds fans are like me. We loved Pete Rose as a player, but also recognized (even way back when) Pete the player was vastly different from Pete the person. Cheers to you passion for the game.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Yeah. but those bad boy of summer are exciting. One of my favorite Babe stories is…back in his time, of course, the press turned a blind eye to a player’s antics. They also, in those days, traveled with the team, mostly by train. Babe, stark naked, came running through the press car with a woman chasing him with a knife. “Well, that’s another story we won’t report,” said a reporter. May have read that in the Leavy book about The Mick.


  6. Great Game.. Though here in the UK it and I know this is going sound sacrilege when I say this… To me its Just a game of ‘Rounders’ here.. Yes I am ducking!!! your bat!!!…. 🙂 Haha…

    We used to play rounders in the playing field.. We never had teams or anything like that.. It was netball for girls and football, ( Soccer) for boys and Hockey for us us girls.. I disliked Hockey as I continually got my shins bruised with the hockey stick.. My family were not so well off, and we had to have what was available in the Schools Games room left overs and shin-pads were not an option unless you bought them… 🙂

    Happy days dear Frank… Enjoy your beach walking!!… ❤ 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rachel,
      Baseball is part of the American fabric. It’s a romance. It’s a dream. It’s unique and many more things. Oh … and given the regular season of April through September, a marathon. The game fascinated me as a kid and has been part of me every since.

      Liked by 1 person

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