As the baseball season winds down, I find myself contemplative. A bit maudlin, even.
As horrendous and trying as this season has been, due to my taking the position of umpire coordinator, I'm still going to miss it.
Baseball is simply the most beautiful game on Earth. (Lilly's brothers are going to beat me up for using “baseball” and “beautiful” in the same sentence, but they can get in line behind a couple of team managers who haven't read the rule book but know it all, anyway)
I like the power of football, the violence (yes, I admit it) of rugby and the speed of lacrosse. I'm not much for soccer, but that's because I'm a clod and don't understand the rules. I just see a bunch of guys kicking a ball around, unless it involves Europeans in which case you get the added entertainment of histrionics every time a player thinks he's been kicked and falls down, writhing in pretend agony. Basketball occupies the same niche for me—a bunch of guys in funny shorts dashing back and forth.
But baseball, now there's a game. It's a team game, and as such the efforts of the individual are subordinate to the team, but yet the individual can shine. The beautiful hit, the incredible catch, that amazing slide under the tag to score the winning run. And team efforts can become legendary: Tinker to Evers to Chance. Some 187 double plays in the brief time the Ripken brothers played together.
Hell, I'll even miss the day I umpired two back-to-back games in 90o+ weather, ending up with a deep red sunburn around my neck that hurt for days.
But then again, fall ball is just around the corner...