The Baseball Desert

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Back to life, back to reality

The All-Star break was a welcome opportunity to get away, not so much from baseball, because I love the game and really miss it when it's not there, but from the rigours of being a Sox fan on the wrong side of the Atlantic. Only when the three days were over did I realise that the crazy rhythm I have imposed on my life over the past two or three monhs has become so much the norm that taking a break from it was actually an unwise move.

The last two nights have been physically tough to get through, fighting accumulated tiredness and the stifling heat here in Paris to try to make it more or less intact through the nine (or eleven) innings of the game. And what has been the reward for my struggle? Well, basically bugger-all. I've watched twenty innings of baseball over the last two nights, and the highlight has been one splendid catch by Coco. I guess I should be thankful that this is a long-term love-affair and not a business relationship, because that is not what you could call a significant return on investment.

The Coco catch - a scaled-down version of the incredible catch he made at the end of June - did make me realise one thing, and that is that I miss the hell out of playing baseball. Knee problems notwithstanding, I loved being out there in the field and running after that little white ball. If I use the next couple of months to start to get back nto some kind of shape, maybe it's not too late to attempt a comeback. It's not quite the epiphany I had last time I got the urge to get back on the field, but it was a little nudge in the right direction. And, of course, when I go to read what Beth has to say about the Red Sox' latest woes, I find her in a reflective mood as well:
Holding this ball, with its perfect white surface and sharp red stitches on it, was just a tangible demonstration of how little I know about what it's actually like to play baseball. I wonder what a player's relationship with the ball is like; I wonder how they develop their habitual ways of holding it, throwing it, catching it, the kind of finesse it takes to make this hard little thing bend and dip and curve in the air.
I know I don't have that finesse, but the desire to hold and throw a ball around is still there. I woke up this morning with a renewed enthusiasm for the game of baseball, and when I head off on vacation next week I think I'll be finding some space in my bags for my ball and glove. I'll be away from the Red Sox for two weeks in early August, but those two weeks could, strangely enough, put me back on the road towards real, live baseball, French suburb style.