I intend no disrespect to women, sufferers of the recent loss of a loved one or those noble citizens who willingly assume the responsibility of positioning themselves in harm’s way for the greater good. But to many of us men thirty-five years of age and older, the outcome of a baseball game played by our favorite team is a virtual life-and-death matter. From the seventh inning on, we fans (short for fanatics) are as locked into the action of the battle being waged before us as are the participants. Ladies, there are deep-seated reasons why we curse at the TV one moment and unabashedly perform a blissed-out, one-person wave the next; why we want to emasculate a player who makes a fielding error in the eighth inning and then offer you to him after he homers in the ninth.
There are as many reasons why baseball is such an important fabric of our lives as there are threads in the fabric. Because most of us were introduced to the game when we were toddlers, self-analysis to determine why it is as much a part of us as our navels has never been deemed worthy of consideration. Just like the trusty belly button, the significance of baseball was never a topic of serious discussion. All we knew is that it always was and always will be. Amen.
What follows are what I believe to be the major universal reasons why we personalize this game played by strangers with whom we have nothing in common (adults in knickers getting paid millions to frolic in a pasture, to whittle it down to its core). While I’ve never discussed the subject with any other baseball junkie, I’m certain that my thoughts are theirs as well.
I Wish I Could Do That On Television
How many of us who are not gangsta rappers (not to be confused with gantseh machers) have an unfulfilled fantasy of publicly tugging our crotches and not being yelled at by our mothers?
Even Ugly Players Have Babes For Wives
No explanation needed (except: so do I).
The father-son dynamic is what regenerates baseball and sustains its life. While it now may be
nostalgic and downright Capraesque to label it as “America’s Pastime,” it is indisputably accurate to recognize it as, arguably, the paramount bonding agent between father and son. We were taught the game by our fathers, who then accompanied us on our developmental journeys — as coaches, boosters, and healers of skinned knees, bruised egos and broken dreams.
I’ve only recently realized (or have come to acknowledge) that the number one reason why I love baseball so much is that I love my father and cherish his memory. When I am transfixed by a nail-biter of a game I am lost in time with my Dad. He’s young, healthy and my living real-life hero.
The movie Field Of Dreams has a line that synopsizes the film and the Kevin Costner character’s mission: “If you build it, he will come.” For me, when I watch a baseball game, my father and I are together again.
Thank you, Dad for giving me baseball. Thank you, Baseball for giving me Dad.