writing in the raw: little league opening day

I am busy finalizing things for my move tomorrow. So I thought 73rd might get a kick out of the essay I wrote at dKos last April…

The nephews are both on little league teams and their seasons opened today. This is the second time I’ve done the little league thing: about 15 years ago with stepchildren and now with my sister’s kids. and i swear to god, it was like I had stepped into a time warp, like I had left everything the way it was all those years ago.


I don’t know what day in creation God said “Let there be baseball” but it is as persistent as spring. I don’t actually know anything about baseball except the rudiments – kids throw, catch, pitch, hit, and run. I know less about coaching, but was hypnotized by one guy who kept urging his players today: See the ball, hit the ball. See the ball, hit the ball.

Anyway, it felt good to hear little kids screaming on the playground as their brothers (I didn’t notice any girls playing today) scored on overthrown balls and every-once-in-a-while, a real honest-to-god hit. I loved watching these 8 to 12-year-olds looking like little men with their windups, cleat digging, and hat pulling.

You could even buy a hotdog.

Amid all of this Americana, I realized the pact we make with our children: You will be safe here. Our lives our reproduceable: you will grow up, go to college, and get married. You will have kids and watch them play baseball on opening day. You will be part of this American Dream.

Maybe there are no guarentees and maybe one day soon, we’ll wake from the American Dream to something harder. I don’t know. But today, there were screaming kids on swingsets and swinging at fast balls. Today, they are safe and the disruption of what may come is not going to stop today, my nephews’ opening day.


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    • pfiore8 on March 14, 2008 at 03:06

    and here’s to spring, kids, and little league.

    • RiaD on March 14, 2008 at 03:10

    this is the passing it on… your nephews one day will take a child to baseball… or go to watch a nephew or best friends child… & the smell of the hotdogs or the glare off someones sunglasses or the whistle tweeeeting will call up the memory of the day you took them…. and it passes on… this is how we live forever pf~ in great memories

  1. we have here.  It’s wonderful.  A beautiful field.  Some dugouts.  Some hotdogs.  Some bleachers.  My kids started playing here 18 years ago (they’re grown now).  I coached little league for a few years here.  Some of the other coaches actually played on this very field when they were kids.  Anyway, Spencertown, NY’s little league field (25 mi SE of Albany, next to the Mass border) is Americana.  It’s fantastic!  It is something worth seeing.

    In the early part of the season, usually April, it’s still cold.  Hitting the ball with an aluminum bat makes your hands sting.  And catching a hard hit ball with cold hands is really hard, as is throwing accurately.  But by June, as the season wears on, everything is warm and easier.  The sounds of ball on bat and ball in glove are the sounds of joy itself. Kids love it.  Adults love it.

    I’ve shown these little league games to people from other countries.  They said they loved it (once I explained the rules) and that they liked leisurely pace of the national pastime.  That’s why, as I always explain, you begin the game by saying, “Play ball!”

  2. http://i249.photobucket.com/al

    • Robyn on March 14, 2008 at 03:51

    Sorry.  Bad memories.  My father was my coach.

    • H2D on March 14, 2008 at 03:53

    How’s that for synchronicity!

    I was struck by inspiration today, and have been working on a baseball-themed personal essay for a little while now; that I plan to post here either late, late tonight Left Coast time, or (more likely) tomorrow night…

    That’s amazing

    Just like the Mets, heh…



    Good luck again on your move, and I hope everything works out for you even better than you ever dreamed.

    I’ve just started packing for my own move next week, and just set a date and time to turn off my internet and cable at this place next Thursday, and have it turned on at my new place next Saturday.  I’m also conspiring (muah ha ha!!!) to pass my current apartment along to a guy at work who is currently looking for a place, so I’m giving him ‘inside information’ on when to call about the ‘vacancy’ that will soon open at my building.  


    With my help, he’ll get an application in for this place before it’s even advertised as being vacant…

  3. putting the mitt over the seat of my bike and riding to the park…telephone/schmelephone…we could smell baseball time in the air…

    and all of the right people would just be there.  

    and, sure, ive had my share of sprained ankles…and wrists…and been knocked unconscious, left with a black eye..which became a puple eye, then a brownish-green eye, then a greenish-yellow eye…you know…every high-school sophomore’s dream scenario  😉  oh, and the dislocated fingers (learned how to pop them back in myself…regret that today)…

    ..but where else can you leave with a fresh beesting and dirt in your teeth, totally exhausted, and feel like a winner??

  4. I can’t wait. My brother in law went to Spring Training in AZ yesterday. My wife and I bought tickets to games that won’t happen til July. We’re excited anyway.

    • KrisC on March 14, 2008 at 04:51

    big move tomorrow…I’ve made a couple of those and I always got too excited to sleep and ended up a dish rag by the time I got to the destination…

    You’re going to LOVE living in Europe, I promise you.

    Everything will work out perfectly too….;)

    I’m very excited for you.

    Nice bottle of wine might be in order to sleep tonight, tho.

    • pfiore8 on March 14, 2008 at 04:57

    from Jeffrey Lieber’s essay, which just posted a little while ago…

    What I expect from MY $5,500-a-night-hooker. (+)

    by: Jeffrey Lieber

    Thu Mar 13, 2008 at 20:02:03 PDT

    Well, the sex thing, of course.

    But not just “sex”… rattle-the-teeth-loose-from-my-jaw, curl-the-hair-on-my-head, cover-the-sheets-in-every-known-human-liquid, eyes-rolling-back-in-my-skull, lungs-emptying-of-air, screaming-exclamations-to-a-God-I-previously-didn’t-believe-existed-sex.

    Then, with THAT formality out of the way…

    and the whole thing is really funny. but i just love that opening paragraph. so had to share it.

    • RiaD on March 14, 2008 at 06:22

    at my tip jar!

    both of ’em’ve been by!!

    i think i’m gonna faint…..

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