Baseball is in the DNA of We the People of the United States.
It is present — and has been — for decades in our minds
And circulates through us and gives us another dimension of Life.
We breathe and cry this sport; our children are raised
To play in Little League and on school playgrounds and vacant lots.
Our local governments spend money to provide fields
Where a child’s imagination may be fed and will grow.
Our consciousness contains references to the sport,
Comedy routines about Who is on first, movies
Celebrating the lives of real-life heroes
(Think The Pride of the Yankees, 42, Fear Strikes Out and 61*),
the wonderful world of fantasy (Field of Dreams,
Angels In the Outfield, The Natural, Major League, Damn Yankees),
Dramatizations which help us realize how much we love the game
(A League of their Own, Take Me Out to the Ballgame, The Bad News Bears)
and films that teach us how to live (Bull Durham, Moneyball,
Bang the Drum Slowly, Mr. 3000) and how not to live (Eight Men Out).
They dot our land with major and minor ballparks and familiar sounds
(Hey, get your hotdog here!) and aromas. They fill our library shelves
With stories of the national pastime . . . and there is even
An intersection in Hoboken, NJ where painted bases mark the birthplace
Of this sport; Singers remind us just how much we cherish baseball:
“I Love Mickey,” “Mickey, Willie and the Duke,” and of course “Take Me Out
to the Ball Game,” to name three; another even brings the field of dreams
To personal life: “Put Me in, Coach.” American speech is replete with
Recalled voices of announcers of the game, from Mel Allen to Gary Cohen to
Harry Kalas to Lindsey Nelson, Tim McCarver, Ralph Kiner, Tony Kubek, Phil Rizzuto
(All former players) to Curt Gowdy, Ernie Harwell and the very funny Bob Uecker;
Yes, many were omitted from this group but that’s the point:
Make your own list of men who made a connection between baseball
And your life. Somewhere, some time you and baseball shared moments
That you will not forget. Baseball phrases have entered English, and
English baseball words and phrases have entered other languages.
Check out Spanish and Japanese, for example. Our sport has been
A great ambassador that has helped other nations understand our psyche.
We have baseball metaphors in life (“Did you get to third base?”) —
A really cool example is Phil Rizzuto’s commentary in the Meat Loaf song
“Paradise By the Dashboard Light” — sometimes a song is
Connected to baseball even though it really is not! (Neil Diamond’s
“Sweet Caroline,” sung by the fans at the start of every seventh inning stretch
In Fenway Park, maybe because Caroline’s father came from
The same state the Red Sox are beloved and have thrived in.
Look around; use all your senses and you will note that it is there:
In your attitude, in your dreams, in your family dynamics,
In your daily life! Baseball!! A field of dreams is just a metaphor
For Life on its highest, most electric plane, and for so many Americans
That means baseball. For the hours and minutes that a game is played,
There are no politics or conspiracies; there is no outside turbulence.
There is only baseball; that is all we need to live normal lives here
In the United States, in the land of beer and hot dogs and those
Uniforms which we wear metaphorically, and which
Help give meaning to our lives and comfort to our souls.
It brings out the best in us.