Monday, April 18, 2011

Buy Me Some Peanuts and Crab Fries!

Baseball.  The great American pastime, right?  Well, I'm just not a baseball kinda gal.  Admitting it almost makes me sound un-American, doesn't it?  Truth is, I just don't understand its audience appeal, and I'm not really sure why you'd want to play.  Nine innings sounds like an awful lot to me, and there's so much "quiet."  I mean, I accept that in golf -- the concentration, the individuality, but where is there a team sport with so much quiet, besides baseball?  It's the atmosphere that makes baseball what it is.  And good thing for me, Madison asked me to take her to a game the other day -- 'cause it was priceless!

First of all, we couldn't have been given a better day.  The weather was gorgeous, a lazy Sunday afternoon, plenty of time to get there, all day to bask in it.  Our seats?  Near perfect -- not myopic, not nosebleed.  The folks around us were there to enjoy the game -- no wasted, loud-mouth critics.  And it was the Phanatic's birthday, so Maddy got a free shirt right from the gate!

But it was the atmosphere -- something I still don't quite understand, but fun nonetheless.  The thumps and chants that seem to bubble up from the floors of the park, and erupt into a cacophony of whistles and hoots just so the pitcher will strike a guy out.  And the pitcher?  I can't even imagine throwing something at 93 miles an hour, much less actually getting it where I want it!  The militant pist-aaaaa-chio girl, waving her arms as if in flight.  The spontaneous fist-bumps between husband and wife that stretch across their brood and land perfectly, with both of them smiling sort of weirdly.  (When was the last time I fist-bumped my spouse?  You don't think there's something missing in our relationship, do you?)  And organ music!  (Where else but church, and a roller skating rink in some creepy horror flick, can you find organ music? And people don't hold their ears, foam at the mouth, or lapse into catatonia when they hear it!)  The sea of hats, jerseys and foam fingers; folks dressed as if they have some sort of stake in the outcome or, perhaps, might be called in at any moment to play first base.  (I have one shirt with writing on it.  It says, "I shook my tail at the knob," and it's from Punxsutawney -- Groundhog Day circa 2002.  Once again, just not a concert T, sports gear kinda gal.)  The line for Chickie & Pete's crab fries that is insanely long, but moves just as insanely quickly.  (Looking at that line makes me want to be a cardiologist!)  The overpriced hot dogs, peanuts and Cracker Jacks that celebrate what it means to be American, and enjoy its favorite sport.  The National Anthem, that gets everyone on their feet, every eye fixed on the Stars and Stripes and every voice in the stands silenced; most of us holding our breath, overcome by what it means to be free and standing on American soil that has been blessed through the ages by the God on Whom this country was established.

Maybe baseball isn't so bad after all.

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