Thursday, April 10, 2008
The Beauty of Baseball From the Air
I was flying cross country the other day and asked for my usual seats on the aisle. However, on this day of travel, the only seats available were windows. Depending on who is sitting in the two seats next to me, I don’t particularly like the window. Window seats make me feel trapped.
Lucky me, nobody sat in the middle seat, so I had the fortune of spreading out and staring out the window looking at the many towns that dot this country. It wasn’t the parallel pattern of the roads and rows of houses and businesses that caught my eye from above. It wasn’t the undulating terrain, lakes or rivers that meander through our countryside either. No…what caught my eye in the hundreds of towns and cities in my 3,000 mile trek were baseball fields…It’s amazing how pure the sight of a baseball field is from above. There’s a reason they call it a diamond…those symmetrical plots of land are gems to look at.
As I traversed the airways from state to state, I saw how the seasons define the old ballyards condition. The fields in the warmer climates were greener, more lush and the cold weather states had patches of green intermixed with seasonal grasses that were still recovering from the previous months of a punishing winter.
It was a mid afternoon flight, and the one common denominator of all of the fields was the traces of tiny microscopic specs dotting the fields. ‘It’s April in America’, I thought to myself, and no matter what the temperature, the games were on. I glanced out and wished that I had military strength binoculars, or the type of vision wear that science fiction movies say that the military has, so that I could watch double plays being turned, and hit and run plays being executed in the hundreds of games that were visible from my nose bleed view. With that type of eagle eye vision, who needs the dozen TV’s that sports bars tout. You could forget any and all types of virtual reality. I could have the reality of virtually dozens of games right in front of my eyes.
As it were, I had the luxury of just knowing that Baseball in this great country is alive and well and being played in conditions that ranged from 85 degrees to a hand stinging 35 degrees. And if I could see the expressions on the players faces, I bet that no matter what the conditions, the players were just glad to be on the field, playing their game…in their town…if front of their fans and friends.
Some fields had perfect dimensions from pole to pole, while others had asymmetrical nooks and crannies in the outfield that were obviously designed to give the home team some type of offensive or defensive advantage. Some had big stands dotted with multi colored flecks that I could imagine being proud parents watching their sons battling it out on both sides of the ball.
After hours of staring out into the vastness, the one notion that struck me was that maybe Iowa’s Field of Dreams isn’t heaven after all. I am now convinced heaven is up there in the clouds…right where I was…so that the angels can have a birds-eye view of our world…our game…our National Past Time.