Dear readers, let us all agree that the game is the game. It’s balls and strikes, it’s first to third, it’s infield shifts and 3-0 green lights. From Baltimore to Fresno to Okinawa to Calgary, baseball is a game. Or rather, baseball is the game.
Yet we follow it for the people.
Without the story lines, Kirk Gibson’s homerun is just another homerun, Derek Jeter’s dive into the third row is just a catch, Adam Wainwright’s curve to get Inge swinging is simply, just a curve. Stories make these plays so momentous, so glorious, so gut wrenching.
We wouldn’t have it any other way.
So you can imagine my excitement at getting to meet Tom Walsh from the Rocky Mountain Way, a fellow baseball blogger with a commitment to the game, to its people, while his journey brought him to Chicago last Monday evening.
I took him to Beiguo, a gem of a Chinese restaurant in my Bridgeport neighborhood where they know me as that “baseball guy”, deep in the heart of the Southside. Hearing Tom’s stories about the fascinating people he has met and the powerful stories they have shared during his cross-country trek following the game reminded me exactly why baseball is the greatest game on earth.
It brings us together.
With baseball as my loyal ally, fellowship with like-minded fans, familiar or strange, is never difficult. Whether you live in Taiwan or Tacoma, we, as baseball people can always share in the power, the memories, the communitas that is the game.
Sure, if you wear your Cubbie blue and I wear my Cardinal red there’s a chance we might argue a bit, disgrace both of our mothers and end up in the hospital, drunk, but in the end, you’ll shake my hand and I’ll shake yours. Because we’re baseball people. And baseball people are the best kind of people.
Full of cumin spiced lamb, Yangzhou fried rice and a keener sense of Todd Helton, I wished Tom well on his journey and as he drove off west I looked down and realized my fortune cookie was unopened. Quickly, I snapped it in two, grabbed the small strip of paper, held it to the light and read:
(Image courtesy of Tom Walsh)