Memory of the Day. Someone asked me today about where I find peace. Of course there is peace to be found at church, particularly when I go to the altar for the Eucharist, but there is another place and this is how I described it.
The baseball park. Go to a game. I prefer minor league because it is more affordable and not as crowded. Get to the park early and sit alone or with a friend. Consider the dark green grass of the outfield and the infield and contrast it with the dark red clay of the infield dirt. At the corners of the the diamond look at the crisp white bases. Get there early enough see them spray paint them white. Now look at the sharp white foul lines and the batters box. Watch the boys of summer playing catch in the outfield to warm up. If you are lucky enough to get to a ball park that still has one of the old non-electric scoreboards, consider how it looks like an extension of the field. Just walking out into the stands early enough to see all of this without the crowd brings me a kind of peace that I cannot really explain.
I have always loved baseball. Well to be perfectly honest, I fell out of love with it from the late 1970s to the early 1990s. That was partly because life conspired to take all my time with work and family. Also, we moved so much that I could never quite settle on a favorite team. Before then, way back in the 1950s I was a big Brooklyn Dodgers fan. Since I had no connection to Brooklyn or anything else in New York, I’d have to chalk that up to the lovable players they had. Roy Campanella, Sandy Koufax and so many others. My brother Wayne was then a Dodger’s fan and is yet today. I couldn’t wrap my head around a Los Angeles Dodger team so I kissed them goodbye when the moved. I flirted with following the Philadelphia Phillies for a while, but in truth never quite settled on a favorite major league team. I played for the Dixie League Phillies in my playing days. Before that I was on one of the many “Minor League” teams we had, but cannot recall the team names. I wasn’t a very good ball player, which I learned later was because of poor eyesight. My depth perception was awful. The only way I could get on base was to step in front of a pitch. My playing days in baseball ended in 8th grade and were replaced by football. I played football throughout my high school days and have loved it ever since.
When I got to college, I played intramural softball and learned that with the glasses, I was pretty good. One summer I went to work for Brown and Root in Belle Chase, Louisiana and when I learned they had a softball team and they payed you for your time in practice and games, I signed up. For the 6 weeks I played with them I made it to base on nearly every at bat. I hit 1.000 for the first three games. In short I was really pretty good. A couple summers later I was at ROTC Summer Camp and learned that if you were on the Company Softball Team, you got to get out of training on game days and rest before a game. That seemed like a great plan to me as well so I signed up. Again, I had a good season for the 4 weeks of our season.
Now I thoroughly enjoy going to minor league baseball games. Near us here we have the Durham Bulls (AAA, Rays affiliate) and the Carolina Mudcats (A, Brewers affiliate). To be honest, I prefer going to the Mudcats games for a lot of reasons. Mostly because of the reasons cited in the first paragraph above. With fewer people in the stands I can enjoy the peace more. Before we moved here 5 years ago, I was a regular at the Huntsville Stars games. I had season tickets for several years there. The pictures below are of Joe Davis Stadium in Huntsville. The ladies in the three pictures following the Phillies picture are my wife, Nancy Williams Grant, daughter, Taryn Grant Peachey, and granddaughters Katy and Sarabeth Peachey. In the 4th picture are my wife and daughter Lori Grant. I can’t tell you how pleased I am that my daughters and granddaughters love baseball too. During her high school days, my daughter Lori Grant and I would go to games and could talk about all manner of things and still enjoy the games. It’s not like going to a movie or even a football game. At a baseball game, you can enjoy the game and still enjoy your companions.
Well, I’ve just about talked myself into going to a ball game sometime soon.