play-ball “it is the bottom of the ninth the bases are loaded and …”
The music would play, the action would begin, in the 1960s on the black and white TV. I am reading the book Underworld by Don DeLillo and the first section took me to a 1950s baseball game. They were there, the adults of my 60s childhood: Frank Sinatra, J. Edgar Hoover, and Jackie Gleason, at that one game.
The crowd moves with the action of the game as does the city, the nation, recorded in real-time, live on the radio, live in those pages. There is no Internet, there is no buzz, there is no one in the seats watching on the big screen overhead or on their iPhone, and there is no one twittering about the beer that Jackie’s guzzling.
Real time, one pitch, one ball at a time. And the movement, the movement of the players as they work for the goal mirrored by the movement of a young man through the streets of NY gliding through the concrete, dodging people to save his baseball, the winning baseball, the baseball that landed in his section of the stadium. The baseball of possibility and hope.
It’s warm and cold now, this week in 2012, a normal September feeling. Driving past Cornell Wednesday, I decided to get out by the polo ring and take a walk. You can still park in that area and not get a ticket. I needed to stretch my legs and open my mind… FOUR hours on the computer, too much. Walking past the polo building, then past the tennis building, I thought I saw it, a baseball field. So I took a walk down…sure enough there is a baseball field with a big no trespassing sign. No one around, and maybe one place left without a video camera, besides, what were they going to do, shoot me? I walked the bases, not once, but twice.
My Dad loved the Yankees and he loved complaining about their leaders, especially Joe Torre. I have no idea why. No idea, he never told me and died soon after baseball season was over 8 years ago. He took my brothers to Yankee games -I guess because that was the guy thing to do. My friend Bev’s parents took three of us in 1973 to see the Mets in Shea Stadium. I don’t remember anything about the game except that I fell in love with New York City and that my friend Bev loved Tom Seaver.
The only time I played baseball it wasn’t really baseball, it was softball, and I played fifth and final substitute in 6th grade. One day feeling all confident in my shortest person in the Class of 1973 status body, I said something cocky as I played outfield behind the second basegirl. As if to show the team by showing me, Coach Russ shot the ball right at me. I tried to catch it but it hit my nose first, ouch! And then he said! “See who is laughing now.”
So that is pretty much my history with baseball. I enjoyed my walk around those bases yesterday. I felt the sanded grit under my feet and the possibility of a slide into 2nd or 3rd or the ball throw from 1st to 2nd and the runner out.
“Its Perez on 3rd base, batter up.”
“And Perez gets it to the 2nd baseman, just in time, ladies and gentlemen, he is out.”
I ended my walk, went to the Cornell Orchard, came home and took my dog Moby for a walk, a good walk. The commentator could be heard
“And it’s Perez, trying to pull the dog off the deer scent.”
“It’s Perez holding her own as the dog pulls her toward his destination and she pulls him back.”
At midnight, I opened my book, Underworld. I am way past the baseball game, the quiet of life without electronics: I have written a blog; corrected a student paper on line; placed a cell phone call; land line call; and posted to twitter twice.
Yep, way past the world where the ball has left the street kid’s hands…