It’s baseball season in America. And, at least in Brooklyn, the sun is out, the wind is blowing, it’s 50 degrees, sometimes it rains and then in the morning the air is damp in that way that promises that the world is waking up again, that things are coming to life. According to this real old book I’ve read the Wikipedia summary of, once upon a time on Sunday things came alive again. And it’s true. Because yesterday, on Easter Sunday, the Chicago Cubs played the Saint Louis Cardinals in the triumphant return of the game of baseball to America.
It is baseball season in America, ladies and gentlemen. Which means fresh mowed grass and hot dogs and beer and the smell of the promise of disappointment and the possibility, the irrepressible fucking possibility, of victory. Maybe your team is going to be terrible! Maybe your GM gave out a lot of large contracts to aging players who were obviously declining! Maybe your GM has a fundamental misunderstanding of how runs are both scored and prevented! Maybe you are a Philadelphia Phillies fan! IT DOESN’T MATTER. Because anything can happen in baseball, because somebody has to win. I once watched a 19 inning game where a utility infielder named Wilson Valdez who resembles most an upright goat ended up pitching. Does this matter to you? Maybe not. But something will happen. Yasiel Puig will play baseball like he has bees shooting out of his dick. Mike Trout will show us what could have happened if Mickey Mantle wasn’t a drunk who was too busy fucking his knees off of his body to stay healthy. Yu Darvish will not be amazing because he had Tommy John. MAYBE EVERYONE WILL GET TOMMY JOHN SURGERY! Maybe Kris Bryant will come up and play like the second coming of Mike Schmidt the second time around, not the first, when he was 23 and hit .196/.324/..373, but the second, when he was 24 and hit .282/.395/.546 with 36 home runs. Maybe this season somebody will learn to love you and will learn to love them in return. Maybe nobody loves anyone and we all die alone. But still! There will be baseball. Who knows what the future holds? Possibly the moon. It is my fervent dream that, this season, Alex Rodriguez will not only be relevant, but will be the best player on the Yankees, and he will finally learn how to love himself, to not spend his days pining and screaming for the love of strangers, or wondering why Jeter won’t text him back, and, in this moment of personal ascension, he will become the centaur he has always longed to be.
Ladies and gentleman once upon a time there was a great movie made terrible by Kevin Costner, who is awful. That movie was called Field of Dreams, because that is what a baseball diamond it is. It is a field of dreams upon which we pin our hopes and fears, on nine men in variously colored outfits, who do things that most of us could not. Some of them are handsome, many of them are otherwise. They are paid more money than we will ever see in our lives and they are the property of billionaires and moved about like so many snacks on the playground. They are human beings whom we have converted into the pillars which hold our dreams up above our lives. Baseball is back, and it is not going to leave us until the beginning of November. Earlier I heard a Cubs announcer say that he liked waffles, and he liked chicken, but he just didn’t see the point in chicken and waffles. There are lots of things that I don’t see the point of, knuckleheads. Like our drug policies, our foreign policies, our stance as a nation on addiction, mental health, education, and the poor, to name a few. But still, there is baseball.
We can talk about baseball in terms of tradition, in terms of nostalgia, in terms of the Great American Pastime. But I’m not going to because when I talk about baseball I’m talking about dreams. About an externalization of anguish and joy that has existed for more than a hundred years. I am talking about standing up and staring at a long deep fly to center, at the ways in which the feats of men can still communicate something to us about the capacity of the body, I am talking, I guess, about poetry, and about a cold beer on a hot night, and about communion. I am talking about communion here. About an act that forms the basis of a bond between individuals. Because baseball is back. It’ll be weird, and sometimes boring, and also completely insane. We are people who lack peace. We are imperfect, and angry, and impatient, and our bodies swell with feelings we can hardly name. And for the next seven months, baseball will give us a means to move through these feelings, these trappings, and into something stranger, and bigger than we can even begin to imagine.