Baseball. It is the epitome and encapsulation of all that is spring. Energy all tied up in peanuts, cracker jacks and beer. Except for the fact that I am doing a 30-day fitness challenge and I cannot have beer. Or cracker jacks. Whoah is me!
More about that in another twenty or so days.
T-ball season also started last weekend and my youngest by a minute is playing in his second season. I am completely smitten with everything that comes with it. The miniature cleats, the tiny pants and the players clad in batting helmets like little bobblehead dolls. The warm sun battling the cool air around them.
Spring is such a great season. It means new birth and rebirth in so many ways.
A family of goslings have been eating on our beach with their parents. The ornamental cherry blossoms are falling to the ground and the red buds have retreated making way for leaves. The fish have reappeared in the depths around our dock and are drawing in the herons and multiple species of ducks to feast.
Blue birds have returned to the travel trailer bird house we have hanging in our persimmon tree. My youngest used money from his piggy bank to purchase it at a fantastic antique festival that is unfortunately no more. We hung it in the tree hopeful it would attract inhabitants. He was confident. I was skeptical. I still encouraged the idea.
I like to imagine the blue bird pair are stereo-typical RV park types. Untethered and ready to hitch up and move on at any moment. Baby blue birds scuttling about clad in droopy diapers. Mom and dad watching from the perch smoking Marlboro Lights as the sun sets. The image humors me.
Spring is all about birth and rebirth. Easter is less than one week away.
It all makes me want to step outside and inhale everything that surrounds me even though it could result in my lungs being clad in chartreuse-green pollen.
This past Saturday we did all things spring. We lingered by the window watching geese, goslings, ducks and herons busy in their mornings at the shore of the lake. And, as I watched, I wished I was more like them in my morning routine and didn’t have to fight gravity so much to rise from bed.
I envy the water fowl. They don’t look ominously at their day. The receive it, shake their tail feathers and immerse themselves in it. The sun is up. They are up.
I have something to learn from them.
We planted a tree grown at the hand of the children. Last spring we were all about seeds – little capsules of opportunity bound by a rigid seed coat. I still have little baggies of sour cherry pits, cantaloupe seeds, apple seeds and goodness knows what else to plant.
The tree grew against the odds. Plucked from the cut center of a store-bought Granny Smith apple and placed into a tiny terra cotta pot by a chubby finger last spring. It was watched over and watered, sometimes forgotten. One day, a bright green leaf appeared and was met with gasps and squeals. We moved it to a larger pot when it began to look too confined.
It emerged unaware of what a harsh day could bring. Instead, it was happy to be a part of it. We watched it, checked its soil for moisture and when fall blew in, consulted an apple orchard to see how we should handle our delicate sapling through the winter.
When a baby bird is ready to fly they are pushed out of the nest and that is just what the apple grower advised. Take the pot, dig a hole and set him in the hole pot and all. “It’s time for him to toughen up and prove himself.”
He lost his leaves and remained limber through the winter – a sign that he was remaining flexible to endure the season. And, despite being half-consumed by a local deer, he made it through the winter and demonstrated his fortitude with the emergence of new green leaves.
We dug another hole, cut him loose from the confines of his pot and set him free into his world of soil.
The children imagine building forts and tree houses from his branches when he is big.
My heart hurts a little knowing that when our baby tree is big they will be grown and a tree fort will be far from their mind. Perhaps they will lay under his branches soaking up respite from the sun’s rays.
New growth and encouragement of what is to come. That is spring.
The tree, like the water fowl, didn’t awaken discouraged about his day. He woke-up with determination to do what is innate and inherent in his being: grow, give, and change the world. Build a shade from the sun, build a place to climb, bear fruit to feed with a hope to grow new – either at the chubby hand of a little one, or from fallen fruit forgotten and left to decay on the ground nearby.
I snuck in an accidental nap on the swim dock. LOML fielded inquiries as to my whereabouts concealing my retreat. My forehead is sunburned.
We went to a minor league baseball game Saturday night. We looked at tickets for the ball park in the big city, but it was double the cost of the minors in the country. So, we drove to the country. @Kannapolis Intimidators.
I highly recommend baseball in the sticks.
If you aren’t feeling the birth and rebirth and are still pulled to draw the curtains and retreat – go to a baseball game. It is electrifying under the setting sun. The cool air is charged by the announcer, the corny games on top of the dug out, and the children running the bases before the first pitch. The crack of the bat.
Traditional organ baseball melodies and the perfect shuffle of music fill the air: Guns and Roses colliding with melodies of Alabama and Brad Paisley harmonizing about mud on tires followed up by the Beach Boys, Imagine Dragons, House of Pain, Kenny Chesney and Nirvana.
All tied up at the end with a fantastical explosion of fireworks launched from the hillside beyond right field. You cannot breathe deeply enough to take it all in. You can close your eyes and it is still visible with all of your senses. Unobstructed.
The children thought the fireworks were bigger and better than Disney.
They refused to leave early. The game went into extra innings. Three hours past bedtime. Sometimes you have to let that go. The temperature dropped and we huddled together to share heat.
$47 dollars for four hours of this.
Oh blissful spring! I want to breathe in every bit of it (except the pollen of course).
It is hard to believe there was a time when baseball wasn’t, but there was such a time. I wonder what people drew to back then in order to glean the level of energy that baseball exudes today.
Go to a game and take a deep breath. As you exhale, I guarantee you will feel refreshed. If not, go grab a beer at the concession stand and try that. 😉
The History of Baseball
The lineage of baseball can be traced back to a combination of cricket and rounders, which are two games played by European settlers in America. Formal rules for baseball can be found as far back as 1838 in Philadelphia, but the rules which are most-similar to the game today came from the New York Knickerbocker Base Ball Club.
The first game played with these rules was in 1846 in Hoboken, New Jersey between the Knickerbockers and the New York Base Ball Club. New York won 23-1.
In 1856, baseball was referenced as a national pastime by a New York newspaper, even though it was a premature statement. Baseball spread after the American Civil War, for unlike cricket, baseball did not have to be played on finely cut grounds.
In 1869 the first “all-professional” base ball team, the Cincinnati Red Stockings, was financed by a group of Ohio investors. Each player was paid a salary equivalent to about $23,000 a year today.
Alex Rodriguez made $21 million in 2016.
In 1870 the team was moved to Boston and in 1871 the Boston Red Stockings and eight other teams from Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, Washington, New York, Indiana, Cleveland and Illinois formed the National Association of Professional Ball Players.
After five years the National Association was struggling. The owner of the Chicago White Stockings, William A. Hurbert, took several of the best players and formed the National League. Unfortunately, anyone who complained about their wages was fired and often blacklisted. Players threw games on purpose having been paid by gamblers to do so, just so they would receive income.
So how did players morph into being paid as they are today?
When Hubert died, A.G. Spalding, became president of the White Stockings. Spalding insisted players be compensated like entertainers. He created Spalding Sporting Goods and manufactured all things baseball. Despite there being two other leagues, the American Association and Player’s League, the National League remained largely in charge of baseball.
At the turn of the century, Byron Johnson created the American League by picking up unemployed players and poaching from the National League rosters.
Eventually, the National League owners were forced to submit and in 1903 an agreement was established creating a National Baseball Commission consisting of a president of each league and a chairman to govern the game of baseball.
Major League Baseball was born.
In the fall of 1903, baseball’s first World Series was played. Boston beat Pittsburgh and won five games to three. This year will be the 113th World Series game.
Baseball. Some say it is as American as apple pie. I do not disagree, but I would add that it is all things spring. Baseball joins the buds and blossoms on the trees and is invigorating in every sense of the word.
You have all spring and summer to catch a game, so get to it!
xo, the mamabrain at mamabrains