Monday, September 19, 1994

No Joy in Davesville

The score was 0-0, the game yet to begin.
All the players got loose, some looked within.
It was a social gathering, a good time for all.
Conversations intertwined as we threw the ball.
Across the field, she strode towards us.
Others oblivious, as my mind's eye buzzed.
She was merry, slim and sleek.
I was inspired, separate and meek.
The grass long and green,
the infield recently cleaned.
The game began,
I led off, hit and ran.

After every summer there is a fall. This fall, however, will be unlike any I've experienced in my previous twenty nine. And I'm pissed.

For me, it started when I was in second grade, twenty two years ago. My mother gave me a Minnesota Twins yearbook which had a picture of the Q man, Frank Quilici on the cover, arms outstretched, questioning the call of an umpire. I studied that book cover to cover, day after day. I memorized all the pictures and stats. My Mom and I watched the Twins lose to the Yankees something like 12-2 on our new portable Panasonic black and white TV with a screen about 8 inches in diameter and I was forever hooked. I was in love. I started collecting baseball cards; Mom explained the nuances, and the infield fly rule. My brother and I spent all of our time trying to learn how to play the game, how to get all the moves and skills down.

Nearly every morning since then I have begun my days by looking at the box scores to the previous night's games. The routine now includes coffee, but not much else has changed about the way I prepare myself for the upcoming day. Besides my family, and my bad haircuts, not much else has followed me and stayed with me over that period of time. You get used to something and it hurts when it's gone. Absence makes the heart grow sadder.

She jabbered on, and I heard,
once again, hung on every word.
We played the game,
familiar and the same.
A figure in Greek
full of mystique
broke in time
in my heart and mind.

I'm not sure who's to blame for the premature end of this season. I don't care. But there is a huge hole in my day and I needed that like I need another hole in the head (trepanning might be the solution to this). I'm not into this nostalgic thing either- it doesn't much matter to me these fans moaning about the lost history, the cries to get back to what the game really means (those dweeby St. Paul Saint types). Yes, the game was never meant to be played in a sterile plastic blue THING downtown, and the meaning goes beyond making lots and lots of money. But so much of life is business and it's hypocritical to see why baseball should be held to this phony cleansing light. What does bother me these days is trying to find an alternative to something that has always been there, and I thought always would. I WAS PLAYING BOCCE BALL LAST FRIDAY FOR PETE'S SAKE! AND THINKING THIS GAME HAS POSSIBILITIES!!! I WAS INTO TOSSING THE PEA!!!! SOMEBODY PLEASE HELP ME!!!!!

The final inning arrived
the score was not on our side.
It was my turn to bat
as she quietly sat.
The errors already made
the memories slowly fade.
One last chance,
a jig and a dance.
Runners on second and third.
Her voice was the last one heard.
I swung as hard as I could
the ball avoided the wood.

We all need, and some of us have our own outlets from the day to day frustrations of the job, of the family, of friends- somewhere, something we can go to, that helps us unwind and get our minds off the natural born dwelling that lies within. Baseball was my diversion. It is such a diverse game; intellectual yet simple; cerebral yet physically demanding; a team sport yet the game often comes down to what individuals can do; the very purpose of which is to make it home safely. I've seen thousands of games over the years and not one has been a waste of my time. The game didn't need this. America didn't need this. I didn't need this either. On top of a summer which wasn't exactly going along with grace and pleasure, this latest blow, blows the big one.

There has been a lot of apathy to the baseball strike. Apparently a lot of people are fed up with the greed, the absolute selfishness of all those involved. Most fans have gone on with their lives and found other things to do. Not David. David dwells. David sulks (again). This little guy admits he misses the game. Wishes all sides would get together and play again, pleas(e). Until then, I'll be on my knees.

Somewhere in the distance
happiness in an instant.
But tonight there is no joy
tonight the man is a boy.
The cheers come to a close
a sniffle in the nose.
For the mighty Dave hears no shout,
the mighty Dave has struck out.

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