I will in no way try to, in the following post, convince you how great baseball is; nor will I tell you how stupid you are for not liking baseball. I’ve seen it done before, and let me tell you, those posts help nobody.
I will, however, attempt to explain to you my experience with baseball from a purely emotional standpoint. Emotions, after all, are universal. So, whether you like baseball or have never seen a game in your life, I know you can relate to the following. Because the emotions I describe are as familiar to you as they are to me. I’m sure of it. This post is not about baseball. It’s about emotions.
There’s something really beautiful about civilization. I’ve read authors upon authors talk of how humans have messed everything up. You read it in the newspapers. It’s just a universal given that untouched nature is more beautiful than anything humans can make. Humans only cheapen nature. But I beg to differ.
Civilization, and marks of it, if done properly, can be just as beautiful as nature untouched. And a ballpark is a beautiful thing.
Ballparks are like cathedrals, rising up into the sky, towering above you as you walk in. They are a perfect mixture of concrete and nature. A perfect meshing of two contrasting things to form one beautiful testament to an American treasure.
As I sit in my seat, looking out upon the diamond in front of me, I’m overwhelmed by the beauty.
Baseball is different from other sports. At a basketball game, when the clock is ticking, you’re straining, on the edge of your seat. Every break in the action comes with a sigh of relief. You can’t talk to anybody during a basketball game.
But not baseball. Baseball is a social event. At a baseball game, you have time to sit back, mull things over, talk about anything and everything.
Other sports are timed. Other sports can be precisely planned around. With baseball, you get a sense of not knowing.
People like to know way too much, I think. They want to know exactly how long this game will take. They don’t want the unpredictability. But there’s something beautiful about not knowing. When was the last time you let yourself not know something? When was the last time you let yourself rest in unpredictability? It’s a very freeing thing.
We all like to control things, to plan things. But baseball? A baseball game answers to no man. A baseball game is a living, breathing thing.
I think the fact that baseball used to be the most popular sport in America really says something about what has happened to our society lately.
Watching baseball is like reading books. It takes time and thought. It’s a slow thing. People nowadays don’t have time to read, and they don’t have time for baseball. But they always have time for Facebook. Because Facebook doesn’t require deep thought, doesn’t require patience.
Patience is a thing of the past, and baseball is a thing of the past. At least, that’s what most people think. But most people can be wrong.
I have this friend named Matt who is one of the best hecklers I’ve ever heard. He can give it to an umpire for hours. It’s hilarious stuff. I love to sit there, taking in the beauty of the park, watching the game and listening to him go. I laugh and laugh. Sometimes I even yell something myself. It’s better than anything I could watch on Netflix. It’s real and it’s tangible.
Going to a baseball game is like traveling back in time. It’s easy for me to see why Americans loved this game in the 30s and 40s. It’s a simple game from a simple time.
Have we come too far as a society? Have we gotten so far away from the slow, peaceful mindset of America’s pastime that it’s irreversible?
I don’t think so. For some, maybe. But for others, there’s still hope.
We’ve gotten to a point where people feel they must only do things that are benefiting them, they must only do things that have value. No time for wasting time.
I think some people still see the three hours spent at a ballpark as valuable. Some people still realize that sitting, thinking, talking is not a waste of time.
To me, those are the very things that make life life. Talking, thinking, enjoying beauty. Tell me that’s not the essence of life. Tell me that’s not the most valuable use of your time.
I think, maybe, what we look at as an escape is really not an escape at all. I think what we look at as an escape from life is in fact life itself. Everything else is just a distraction.