“Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.”
While baseball fans are celebrating the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park, memories are almost forgotten that less than a mile away, there used to be a major league ballpark that when built in 1914, was a bigger and better ballpark than Fenway. In fact, the Red Sox played their World Series home games there in 1915 and 1916
“I know you believe you understand what I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant!”
There was no plausible reason why God invented winter, thought the boy, unless it was some sort of preview of purgatory. He always felt a sadness after the last out of the World Series and like the autumn leaves, knew it was a harbinger of the coming cold.
Cold turned colder and with it the depths of winter snowfall, where he started to wonder how it was going to be possible to see the bare ground before the Fourth of July fireworks. Then, mysteriously, the days became longer. The snow gradually went away as if some magic wand was being waved.
The poet had said that in spring a young man’s fancy turned to love. But to the young boy, love was some mushy thing that adults talked about because they didn’t know Pete Runnels lifetime batting average. Baseball was the only love a 10 year old could understand.
At that age, the problems of the world are more than one can understand, or worse, do anything about. Baseball, however, could be analyzed more closely by the 10 year old mind and nurtured into a science that was more interesting than anything taught by books.
Those first reports out of esoteric spots such as Scottsdale, Arizona or Winter Haven, Fla., really meant spring was close by. So what if it usually coincided with a fierce late winter snowstorm. Optimism flowed as the newspapers showed pictures of Drysdale and Koufax throwing batting practice, picking up baseballs from a shopping cart.
The boy had no understanding of Darwin’s theory to know the young phee-nom with 10 homers and 30 RBI in spring training would be back down to Louisville by mid-May with a sprained neck from watching major league curveballs plop with ease into the catcher’s mitt.
The passing of age treats one’s view of the game as hardening of the arteries does to the heart. You know the damn thing was much better when you were young. One can remember how the “old timers” turned up their noses when the likes of Mays and Mantle were compared to the stars of past eras.
Now, the youngster of 45 years ago, whose dream of playing second base for the Red Sox has faded forever, snickers when .255 lifetime hitters sign multi-year pacts worth millions. Which is why the game shall remain eternal.
The grown up adult shall remember fondly of those days of youth when Don Schwall’s winning streak or Don Buddin’s error streak were things of great concern. In a couple of weeks, the eternal refrain of spring will be heard once again and millions of “10 year olds”, no matter what their chronological age, will become dreamers again. Play Ball!!
“Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die/
life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly”