Tuesday, April 14, 2009


One of the many things that makes baseball the greatest sport in the world is that it represents stability - every March, players start training for April. Every April, thousands of fans show up for Opening Day at their respective ballparks, filled with the hope of possibility - even if their team is predicted to lose 100 games this year, it hasn't happened yet: everybody starts 0-0.

As the oft maligned former commissioner Bart Giamatti said: It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone.

In other words, it appeals because there is so little about the game that ever changes. It is as familiar as the spring, as familiar as the sun rising and setting.

When Harry Kalas died yesterday, it surprised me that it hurt. It didn't seem to me at first like I had any right to really be affected: after all, I didn't know Harry personally. I never met the man. I was just a Phillies fan, one that probably took him for granted too often like many others, so used to him calling the games that it didn't even cross my mind that someday, he wouldn't be around to do it. Harry called every Phillies game of my entire life - his presence was as ubiquitous as the Phillies themselves, as baseball itself.

I stare out the window at what is a gloomy day here in Delaware, and I know the spring will come. I know that everyone will eventually move on, myself included, because baseball, like life, goes on.

But for right now, for this moment, Harry is gone, and with him the spring and the promise that both it and baseball bring. The promise they represent - that there are windows of opportunity in life where anything seems possible - for now seems to have disappeared.

The feeling will pass, as all things do, and no matter how much we might want things to stay the same, no matter how much we might want to turn on the game tomorrow night and hear Harry call it, comforted by the familiarity of it all, it won't happen. We learn to adjust.

Baseball represents that too, you know: the game may not change, but the people do. It's not a bad thing or a good thing, it just is.

Right now though, I just want it to feel like spring, the way it did on Sunday when the Phillies won and Harry called the game, and everything was exactly as I thought it should be on an afternoon in April - and now can't ever be precisely the same again.

1 comment:

Mia said...

Thank you Dave Yeager, thank you for putting exactly what so many of us are feeling into words... you are why I love writers.