The National Pastime

Eds Note:  Why the heck am I writing an editor’s note?  I am going to explain my own piece?  Just read it.  Please?

Bill CoadyBy: Bill Coady

When I strolled in to the fast food joint on Sunday, I was very gratified to see that they had not missed the most important sporting event of the year.  Oh, not the SuperBore.  Yeah, that was blaring from multiple TVs in various corners of the place (can’t we do anything without a TV set!).  But there, hidden in a corner, next to the ketchup pump was the really important sporting news.

The 2007 Wisconsin Woodchuck schedules are out!  Yes, even though we have been living in a deep freeze where even Japanese cars don’t start, the sweet warmth of spring is about to embrace us.  You can just see the look in Spring’s eyes, it is so close.  You can almost reach out and touch it.  Even the color scheme of the Woodchuck’s screams “summer” and “hope.”  Forest and tan.  Tan and forest. So very, very soon.

Surely, the most hopeful words in the English language, after “I love you” are, “Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training.”  And that happens next week at the Major League level.  Pitchers and catchers.  You can almost feel the warmth on your cheek.  I know I can.

Pitchers and catchers.  Surely the oddest couple in any sport.  One of them controls the action and does all the thinking and planning.  Of course that person wears the “tools of ignorance.”  Go figure.  But it is a perfect symbiotic relationship.  The grace, power and finesse of the pitcher, combined with the strategy and pacing of the catcher.   This is where inside baseball really happens.  Right between those two.  Pitcher and catcher.

Baseball is by far the most intellectual, sensual, hopeful and romantic of American sports.  It’s impact on American culture and language cannot be overestimated.  Only people of a refined intellect, with an open mind and heart can full appreciate the marvel that is baseball.  So, of course the grunting troglodytes in shoulder pads get higher TV ratings.  Go figure.  Again.

Yes, those forest and tan trifolds herald everything that is good.  Warm summer nights, the Fourth of July, hand in hand walks in the park, lush greenery and the explosion of life here in the Northwoods.  It is no mystery why every spring young men’s fancies turn to – baseball.

And once hearing that pitchers and catchers are reporting, even an old man’s fancy can turn.  Even when the old man remembers his youth to a friend.  “Ah, the Baltimore Orioles – Brooks and Frank Robinson, Jim Palmer, Earl Weaver….”

“Who the heck are they?” my younger companion replied.  Sigh.  But it doesn’t matter now.  Pitchers and catchers are reporting.  Spring — and hope — are in the air.  Time to come out of hibernation and get back into the game.  Time to limber up the lumber and get in the batter’s box.  Time to look out at life and say to it, in the immortal words of Crash Davis, in the movie Bull Durham, “C’mon meat, throw me that weak-assed stuff.  Bring me the deuce.  Bring it.”  When you can handle the curve, you’ve got it made.

It might only be a minor league home run, but it is a home run none the less.  It is your home run.  Baseball is like that.

We have to wait a bit longer here in Wausau for spring, but that makes it so much the sweeter.  Rather than April, like the Majors, we have to wait until May 31st for Opening Day.

Go.  Take your kids.  Grandkids.  Make new memories.  Get back in the game.

I would think something like that would make an excellent birthday present for an old geezer.  If you know what I mean.  See ya at the ballpark.


3 responses to “The National Pastime

  1. Baseball has got to be my favorite sport. Played in high school, was a little league coach for many many years.. spent all of my teenage summers at the local ball diamond running the score booth.

    I cant stand pro ball.. bunch of overpaid, steroid-laden cry-babies… but I love the sport.

    I love watching little league, kids just getting into it.. watching the 3 2nd basement all chase the same ball. I love the high school games.. and my favorite is minor league ball (or farm league if you prefer).

    These guys get paid peanuts if at all.. and are playing their hearts out for the love of the game, for the hope of being discovered.

    I always catch 2 or 3 Chuck games each year, but when the brochure came to my office earlier this week, that season ticket package started screaming at me…………. and the screaming gets louder every day


  2. Go for it John! You only live once. Maybe a pair of season tickets — for you and the future Mrs. Rent? 😉

  3. RAWHIDE, which they say is bad for dogs, is what they made my baseball glove out of.

    I once bought a baseball glove at a Rummage Sale, already soft, and it was with me from 8th grade through my senior year of baseball.

    Did you know I did not get 1 hit in my senior year. I literally did not touch the ball with my bat. A garaunteed third out.

    But I had some fielding chops, and could pitch okay.

    I still have not met a girl.

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