Tuesday, April 21, 2009

From The Fans

By Emma Stewart

Baseball is not just a game. I do not consider myself to be, simply, a fan. I call myself a "baseball connoisseur." A connoisseur is defined as "a person with expert understanding of artistic and similar subjects." Baseball is art to me. Art that takes my breath away.

I watch as the infield plays pepper with balls hit toward them. They know where their teammates are without having to look. Tossing the ball to second base. Out. Then a quick, accurate throw to first. Out again. It is choreographed much like a ballet.

The pitcher takes the mound. He may not be the fastest or strongest pitcher ever to play, but very accurate. Low and away and still in the strike zone. The next one is just a little higher. Strike two. He has a pitch to waste, but he doesn't. High and inside. Still in the strike zone. Strike three; the batter goes down looking. Painting the corners like van Gogh.

The center fielder is in left center. He plays more shallow than most in the Major League. The ball is hit, it goes back, back, back, over his head and out of his reach. He back pedals, as usual. Makes a running jump at the wall. He has stolen another home run from some unlucky hitter. That, too, is art. Not graceful like the pepper ballet in the infield, but art just the same to someone who loves good baseball.

Comedy is a form of art as well. The boys in the dug out are a riot. The trainer is rocking back and forth, keeping the beat that is only heard in his head. Gum is sticking to the brims of baseball caps. The manager just smiles as the last batter relives his last at bat. The third baseman tells the short stop a joke and they both laugh.

The best part of watching the team is how they come together and play like little leaguers. Not putting down their abilities in the least. They play like little leaguers because of their love and passion for the game. They seem to always have a good time. The boys put their whole hearts into baseball. They haven't lost the original awe they felt the first time they took the field. The smell of the grass. The sound of the flags flapping in the breeze. The roar of the crowd as they do the wave. These are grown men, earning a living, doing something they use to do for free; playing a game with all the zeal and heart they had as children. And, loving every moment of it. That, too, is art; loving what you do and doing what you love.

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