Posts Tagged ‘Mabel Scott’

I’m helplessly and permanently a Red Sox fan. It was like first love…You never forget. It’s special. It’s the first time I saw a ballpark. I’d thought nothing would ever replace cricket. Wow! Fenway Park at 7 o’clock in the evening. Oh, just, magic beyond magic: never got over that.

― Simon Schama

Maybe it takes the words of an esteemed British historian like Simon Schama to best describe the grand attraction of a ballpark when first seen in the waning light of the day, with the lights making the green grass and bright white chalk lines of the field pop into your eyes. I remember that feeling at Shea Stadium in the late 60’s, going up the darkened ramp from the concourse to the stands, emerging into a burst of deep colors and lights along with the buzz of the crowd increasing with each step forward.

It was magic beyond magic.

Baseball is back this week, with Spring Training beginning. For me, baseball is the canary in the coalmine. It felt odd and out of place last year with a raging pandemic and the country ripped apart by culture wars and the political apocalypse of an election that felt as existential as any we have had in recent times. Baseball was still there in a weird bubble that took away much of what made it important as a cultural touchstone.

It felt sporadic and detached.

Like most of us.

But it is coming back, as it always has each February, and with it comes the hope that we are nearing a point where we can sometime soon return to a form of normalcy. Where kids can experience that burst of color and light for themselves, can root loudly for slick fielding infielders and hard hitting sluggers. Where old farts like me can revel in the cyclical nature and routine of the game along with its esoteric details, its poetry, and its history. That

Author Michael Chabon, in his book Summerland, put words to my own feelings the game and how it echoes and rhymes with day to day life:

 The first and last duty of the lover of the game of baseball,” Peavine’s book began, “whether in the stands or on the field, is the same as that of the lover of life itself: to pay attention to it.

I have had trouble immersing myself in spectator sports this past year with all that is happening. But the start of Spring Training offers renewed hope. And that hope is a big part of the game. While personal glory and team victory are the goal, baseball is a game about how one copes with failure. It is a game of humility. The greatest players of all time failed more than they succeeded and most players go through their careers without winning the World Series. 

The hope is that if you give it your best effort, this pitch might be the big pitch or this catch will be the big catch. This hit might be the big hit.

This year might be the year.

It is a grand metaphor for the hardship and grace of life that repeats itself 162 times a year. Like life, it offers us everything if only we pay attention.

Pay attention and have a good day.

Here’s a favorite baseball tune from Mabel Scott to kick off the season:

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Three Base Hit- James Daugherty 1917


Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona. Not all holes, or games, are created equal.

George Will


Opening day yesterday and baseball is off and running. This whole damn place might seem ready to go up in flames any minute now but for a few hours every day or so, all seems right in the world. Hey, baseball even gives me a place to find common ground with George Will.

For a Yankees fan, yesterday’s opening day was all that could they could hope for as Giancarlo Stanton, one half of their Twin Towers along with Aaron Judge, quickly put to rest any fears that he would wither under the pressure of playing for the Yanks. In the first inning, on the second pitch he saw, he crushed a home run to right center. Then he bookended the day with an even longer blast to center in the ninth as the Yanks cruised to the win.

And I had a great day in the studio, to boot.

And all was right in the world for a few hours.

Here’s a song I played here a couple of years back, one of my favorite baseball songs. It’s Baseball Boogie from Mabel Scott. Batter up!

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Little League Stadium Williamsport PA

Little League Stadium, Williamsport PA

It’s been an emotionally draining period these last few weeks as we brought my father who is suffering from Alzheimer’s back to this area from Florida.  It’s been hard watching him in his diminished physical and mental state and placing him in a local nursing facility where he could get the care he truly needs didn’t bring a lot of relief.  There’s a constant mild anxiety, a sense of worry mixed with sorrow and just a little guilt.

I know that it will get better by degrees but that is small comfort in the moment.

Yesterday, I finally picked up a brush for the first time in a few weeks.  I knew I had to get back into it because of obligations I have but more so because painting has been my escape route through the years, that place of retreat for me from the problems of the world.  I have found that I can translate my problems, my concerns into paint and off my shoulders.  It felt good yesterday but I still wasn’t able to fully get a foothold in that world.  I was still straddling that calmer place and the new world and environment of my father.

I am sure it was partly because his situation represents a change in my normal routine.  I am an extreme creature of habit and have worked for years to build a healthy and productive routine.  So this change was an upheaval that will take some time to work around and rebuild a new routine that works for me.

I am hoping that today finds me closer to that other world in the paint.  I feel that it will. But if it doesn’t do it today at least I have another constant, another part of my routine to which I can turn with the assurance that it will almost always have something to offer.


The baseball gods can be merciless.  Ask a Chicago Cubs fan.  But sometimes they show a little tenderness and mercy, giving you a wonderful gift (or an escape route) when you really need it.

Over the past few weeks it has been a real boost and diversion to watch the emergence of rookie catcher Gary Sanchez for the Yankees who has been putting on a historic power display as the heir apparent to the legacy of Ruth, Gehrig Dimaggio, Mantle and Jeter.  There’s a buzz every time he steps to the plate that is a thrill to behold.  I know that it can’t last at this pace but when the baseball gods smile you have to just enjoy the moment.

Plus these same baseball gods even decided to give a local Little League team from just down the road in Maine-Endwell a bit of magic as they made their way to the final game of the Little League World Series where they play the kids from South Korea today for the championship down in Williamsport.

So today I will visit Dad, try to find a world in the paint and root for those kids from Maine-Endwell.  For this Sunday’s music, here’s a great song from Mabel Scott that pays homage to those baseball gods.  It’s Baseball Boogie  and the video features some great footage of Mickey Mantle, Duke Snider, Willie Mays and Ted Williams.  Take a look, let your toes tap and have a great day.  Go, Maine-Endwell!

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