It's that time of summer again when the best players from both leagues in baseball meet. Other events like the home run derby will fill the week. Campaigns by fans go in full force for their favorite players, increasing votes with every click. Teams take an account of their chances in October and the post season. This year, Derek Jeter will be at midpoint of his farewell tour. When he leaves, there will be one less reason why Baseball is good. If you never had the dream, its easy to dismiss the game for a bunch of juiced up, overpaid players with inflated egos. Sometimes, even I have to turn away from the glaring lights of its commercialism. Though for me, its more then that.
As a lifelong Baseball fan, there are places I remember. When I travel, I check things off my bucket list and it helps me to further understand the game's role in what we know about American Culture. Certain things in Baseball remind me of certain parts of my life. In college, I studied Art History and realized how the different styles were so much a result of the conditions of the world at the time, Art imitating Life. Or, is it the other way around? That is the age old question. The long history of Baseball too seems to offer a glimpse of issues that have molded events in the U.S. Babe Ruth, and his appetite, was a product of the "Roaring Twenties." The 1930's St. Louis Cardinals were characters of "The Great Depression." When the "Golden Age of Baseball" ended in the 1950's, so did Innocence. It goes on. Baseball is a work of Art, always evolving, never the same. And, I can trace this appreciation for Baseball back to my Childhood, when I first became aware of this wonderful game. I call it a Baseball awakening.
It transcends time. In the Ken Burns "Baseball" Documentary, he depicts like a vehicle through American History, just as he did with his films "The Civil War" and "Jazz." In other words, Baseball is a great reflector in understanding American History. The mother of Ken Burns died when he was 11 years old. He recalls that there never was a time when did not know his mother was sick. His father in law, a Psychologist, once told him that his work was an attempt to make people long gone come back alive. I can relate to that.
My obsession with Baseball and this urge to write about it seems to be for similar reasons. My childhood hero was Roberto Clemente. He died when I was 6 years old. A child's self awareness begins to develop from the time of birth to the age of 4-5 years old. I've had Baseball Dreams for as long as I can remember. At the forefront of that is Roberto Clemente. His passing left a huge void in the hearts of millions of lives he touched. I am one of those millions. I reach to know more about him in attempt to bring him back. He left us all way too young. But, the 38 years that he did live with us contains volumes of lessons in Life that are timeless. One of his famous quotes says "anytime you have an opportunity to make a difference and you don't, then you are wasting your time on this earth," so true indeed.
I can remember games that took place and they still feel like they happened just yesterday. In that sense, when they took place is irrelevant. Beneath the surface of statistics and game events lies the universal story of a boyhood dream. Tommy Lasorda was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1997 as a Dodger Manager. During his speech, he thought that his mother would wake him up and tell him it was time to go to school, a Baseball dream. I see and hear countless people describe what Baseball means for them and how it stirs deep emotions. I feel the same way. In the midst of the cold hard facts of life, Baseball has never failed to bring me peace and happiness. It instills dreams that never die. It's the common thread that weaves through the years of my life. But, the more I look at this game, the more I discover that this thread leads to something greater than myself or any other individual for that matter.
Baseball is Life. I share my stories with anyone that will listen. You may forget my name. But, if you know me long enough, you'll remember "the guy who talks about Baseball." Dream on...