used to take me to the minor league games, the Pompano Beach Mets and the Ft.
Lauderdale Yankees. In all truth I cannot tell you if we went only once or
thirty times. I am intoxicated by this memory.
My mother hated baseball. The Dodgers left Brooklyn that Brooklyn girl told me,
but I’m pretty sure that wasn’t it.
I was born left-handed, but my father made me change. He didn’t want me to eat
like someone from the old country. Perhaps baseball for him was the language of
a new country, an alignment with something so fresh, and so green.
For me: So
green. I could tell you how I revel in the aesthetic, the symmetry or rather an
organic reflection on the notion of it. I could tell you how it appeals to my
sense of justice, law and enforcement, the same opportunity, exactly, for
I remember how the bleachers felt, smoother in Lauderdale. I remember how the
lights at night made me feel lucid, like every detail could come in. I remember
sitting beside my father, proud of that, even then I knew it meant something.
Mostly I feel compelled to tell you with some sense of irony that my father
passed to me Baseball like a language from the old country. His passion for it
was a door to his soul; his bestowing it on me a key to it. We shared this
throughout our lives, throughout the time of his and mine. It was always common
ground and safe harbor, a place to rest our interaction should it feel otherwise
And like a
language I speak it with others who do or wish to; it is a bond with a stranger,
brief yes yet in context significant. We all feel our fathers there, our
children, memories of those we’ve never met or even seen, the great ones, and
those we think only we might remember.
I watch this ritual pass on continually, like genes, like an accent. Grand
Father Child Mother Friend: I have in fact hugged strangers. Me there with my
own father, now dead. I feel him. He whispers, “Did you see the break on that
curve? The runner, he’s going.”
From the stands there in Pompano I have a vision of this player diving for
the ball. It is a memory more crisp than that of any of my own birthdays. My
father said, “He’s going to make it.”