The most wonderful time of the year

"The one constant through all the years has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It's been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is part of our past. It reminds us of all that was once good, and what could be again." (From Field of Dreams)

It's baseball time again!! I love it.

I didn't always love it. I grew up with two brothers who were both pitchers, and some of my very earliest memories involve climbing around on the wooden bleachers at the Little League field in La Habra. Steve, I think, was on the Bears, and Dave was on the Braves. I think. So I spent many, many Saturdays at baseball games, from the time I was about five up through highschool. I used to get so bored!

And then, on summer nights, the boys would have the game on TV, sound turned down, and the radio tuned to the game. Vin Scully's voice is as familiar to me as almost anyone's, and whenever I hear it I feel like everything in the world is right.

I can't remember a time when I didn't understand baseball. Sometimes I feel like I was born knowing the rules. I love the order of it, and how there's so much potential for the near-miraculous to happen on every single play. I love watching it, I love hearing a game in the background while I'm doing things around the house. I love going to games. I can't wait to take Judah and Micah to some games this summer, and start making memories for them. Judah already loves to sit with Nathan and watch the game on TV.

So it's opening week. The Dodgers and the Angels are both playing tonight. The Dodgers are just about to win, which puts them in first place in their division. Hey, it's never too early to start thinking about these things! To celebrate the beginning of the season, I read The Iowa Baseball Confederacy by Kinsella (Dave and Steve, have I made you read this yet? It's awesome), and I'm starting in on Shoeless Joe, also by Kinsella, basis of the movie Field of Dreams.

Oh, and also, I have an ENTIRE PACK of Big League Chew (grape) in my mouth as I write this. I found it at Watson's in Orange today. I used to do this when I was about eight, chew the whole pack at once, and I have no idea how I did it. My jaw is killing me! But it's so worth it. Next I'm heading for the kitchen to see if we have enough kinds of soda on hand to make a good suicide.


Sue said...

Hmmm, Kris, can we really write/read a posting about baseball without mentioning Grandma.

No way, baby.

How many times did we walk through their house, out to the porch, and there she was in her chair, listening to the game while knitting or mending or . . . whatever busy thing she had at the moment! (Oh yes, with a pencil tucked in her french roll for when she needed to write something down or complete her crossword puzzle.)

So baseball season brings Grandma to mind today!

I've loved this happy moment!

Kristy said...

Absolutely! Sue, I actually had a really hard time writing this post, because it easily could have been the length of a thesis. Grandma and Grandpa were one of the things I left out. My memories of them involve them toting around those aluminum patio chairs and setting up camp somewhere on the third base line with their plaid jackets and various newspapers/stat cards/knitting needles. They used to pick me up from school when I was in junior high and take me over to my brothers' games at WC. Here are some other things I left out:

Trips to Solvang for the spring break tournament, staying in hotels and playing pool at night, eating wonderful pancakes and waffles for breakfast at the restaurants in town

"Working" in the snack shack when I was tiny, filling drinks for players

Climbing trees outside the center field fence at Estelli

Getting hit in the head by a foul ball, also at Estelli

Catching snakes in the gully at Estelli and taking them home, where my mother, a bona fide saint, let us keep them, even though she has a holy terror of even the most innocent garden snake

Chasing foul balls over the fence into the back parking lot at Thrifty's behind Whittier Christian, hoping there was a shopping cart stationed on the far side of the fence so I wouldn't have to make the considerable drop to the parking lot, then run around the long way to bring the ball back (I know none of this makes sense unless you were there), then getting a free drink ticket for returning the ball

Long, long drives to Carpinteria and Bishop for games, making nests in the back of the station wagon so I could curl up and sleep (long before seatbelt laws)

Hanging out in the stat shack at Portola Park, where, one day when I was about seven, the older kids thought it would be HILARIOUS to cover me with lime. I came out looking like a ghost, and I remember my mom was FURIOUS with those kids.

That doesn't even begin to scratch the surface. I could go on and on and on... after all, fifteen years of my big brothers' games means a lot of memories....

Anonymous said...


That's really good stuff. Thanks for writing and bringing back the memories. Opening Day at Dodger Stadium this year was one of the best games I've ever been to. They celebrated their 50th anniversary in LA at the game, brought some old timers onto the field, and I'm firmly convinced that Vin Scully or Sandy Koufax are the most popular people in town right now.