The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America is ruled by it like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again. Oh, people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come.
Field of Dream Quote
(James Earl Jones)
Field of Dream Quote
(James Earl Jones)
Baseball…the game where commentator and baseball enthusiast, George Will, stated that 90 feet was the closest man came to perfection….that 90 feet…the distance between the bases. A game where Ken Burns describes as where the defense always has the ball and man scores the run by crossing home plate...not the ball...a game where being successful 3 out of 10 times will put you in the hall of fame…a game that has no time limit.
Baseball…the game where I played catcher for 12 years…from Pee Wee Little League through high school…the game where my dad took me when I was 5 years old to watch the Texas Rangers…the memories of going to a big league park. Growing up in a small town…and then getting to watch the Pros play…walking into the Old Arlington Stadium…what a cathedral to a youngster…by any other standard it was a dump…but you couldn’t tell me that. We watched Hall of Famer, Reggie Jackson hit one out of the park that night for the Yankees…the Rangers got beat…but frankly it was expected. In fact, losing for the Rangers was the norm growing up and even though they seemed to always have more checks in the loss column that the win column, it still didn’t keep me from cheering for them. Waking up and getting ready to go to school in the early 80’s…but having to check the box score in the paper to note that the Rangers were only 3 ½ games out of first place…this could be the year…but then again probably not.
I was blessed to grow up with a great Dad…and baseball was part of those memories. He tried to talk me out of wanting to play catcher. He would say, “Dave, second base….play second base….it’s easier on the body…and you can work on your hitting.” When my son Luke started playing baseball, he started playing catcher…without knowing his Dad’s history at the position….and I found myself saying, “Luke, play somewhere else…it is easier on the body.” He didn’t listen either.
Baseball…whenever my wife, Bren, and I take a trip, we attempt to schedule around when the home team will be playing…she does that for me. Going to the Old Yankee Stadium and watching Babe Ruth’s Ghost show up to pull out a 9th inning victory or walking the hollowed concourse of Fenway Park is something my wife wants me to do…in fact before we left town, we went to a Ranger Game on our Honeymoon….I love Baseball.
So this year, there was magic in North Texas. The Rangers won the division….and they won the American League Division Series…and then they went on to beat the Yankees to win the Pennant. THE TEXAS RANGERS WERE GOING TO THE WORLD SERIES!
Tickets were hard to come by…at least for a cost that didn’t have a comma in the price tag. But somehow my wife found some…Game 5…the last home game in the Series for the Rangers. There we are, me and my dad are going to watch the Rangers again…35 years from the time he took me to my first Big League Game…we are both going to our first World Series Game. He told me he never thought he would be able to go to a World Series.
We get there early….nearly early enough to suit up and throw batting practice. The Rangers were down 3 games to 1…and this literally was a must win. But I was getting to watch the Rangers in the World Series. The energy was palatable…with a twinge of apprehension. The bats better show up tonight…come out of hiding…our Ace…Cliff Lee was to grace the mound…6 feet 6 inches away from the San Francisco Giant hitters…I can’t describe how it felt…what it meant…at least to the point where you would understand. But in section 208, Row 4, seats 7 and 8, we were there…Baseball, Texas Rangers…the World Series.
It was a pitcher's duel…Lincecum vs. Lee…and for the first 6 innings it was deadlock…the pitchers duel. Then in the 7th inning, Renteria got a hold of one that went yard…for 3 runs…and with that One Pitch…the Rangers were down. The finial score would award the World Series Championship to the Giants. There was disappointment…but there was also pride…TEXAS PRIDE…and my dad and I stood there cheering the Rangers for a great ride.
Few things in life will be remembered when I draw that final breath…I will of course remember the day I got married to that beautiful gal…and the birth of my 3 kids…add going to the World Series with my dad to that list…for that evening...Baseball was life…
Up Next...training...changes in intent...what is next...and all that...