Counterintuitively the vast majority of bam-bam darts from short to first, deep drives sailing off into the bleacher ocean, and fist-pump, two-out strike-threeeee calls have not lived on damp grass, in between malicious shadows or in breezes that in inexplicable haste carry balls out to the center field warning track.
Instead, they lurk in the spaces where the index and thumb squeeze the volume button of the portable radio, no sound coming out, and then—lemme check, turn, turn turn, up! and, yes, coast is clear, the cursed national anthem, a harbinger of loss, no longer sings. Play ball. Play ball. Play ball.
There’s an alarm clock in a master bedroom somewhere where surreptitious announcer voices emit at whisper level after 10pm at night. Sometimes, it’s just the bickering and bitching directed at game goats and lousy plate discipline. Infant opinions, heed the man irate on the radio, and emulate his relentless astonishment that the farm system is vacuous and the general manager undeserving.
And more recently, there’s a strong association with a screen, this performance a digital rendering of the crackle of the radio, and there is no crackle, but there is tape delay. Obsolete expression? Applied to modern media, no one claims confusion. But a crackle would be mean close, proximity to incarnate fans and a 40 minute car ride to the game. If only.
A decade in and already two championships and copious drag bunts down the third base lines beat out for infield singles all crowding to force old and grainy sac flies out of the brain. It all overwhelms she who wants to hold them all. There lingers summertime, dog days, almost-antiquated tears (drat that there’s still some from last October though) and the love, love, love of 162 and more, and of the men on the field, the pain and the Cain, and of a timeless tradition of an adolescent once lived, now cherished, still inspired.