My son has become a baseball nut. He is learning all of the big league teams, devoting himself to the schedule, and swearing at the appropriate times during White Sox games (if sometimes needing a cue from his father’s actions). I can’t quite tell who his favorite player is just yet, Konerko, Dye, or Ramirez. He constantly (and I mean CONSTANTLY) asks me about their performance, is very excited when they do well and looks at me with great confusion when they do poorly, usually followed by a question such as “Daddy, why did Alexei throw the ball past Konerko?” He is reading the scoring line and knows what the announcer means when he says “one and one, two and one” etc. All of this great interest has come along in just the past month or so, and I must admit a little sheepishly, I love it. I know his interest will probably simmer down a little, like so many other things that pass his fancy (see: trains, dinosaurs, Spiderman) but all the same, it’s great fun watching a ball game with the boy.
That isn’t all the magic, however. Over my vacation, I decided to tune in the Sox game to make the drive a little more pleasant. As it turns out, Mark Buehrle was in the middle of his perfect game. It has been a long time since I’ve sat in the driveway to listen to the end of a game, but I did last week. It was incredible. I got to break the news to my son, who was extremely excited, even though he had no clue what it meant exactly. He’s good that way, laughs at jokes he doesn’t get, gets excited when mom and dad are excited, just a great audience participant. Anyway, my brother and father were grudgingly excited they are Indians fans after all. It of course sparked great discussions of games gone by. My sister could even chime in, being the only member of the clan to actually witness a perfect game, Len Barker 1981. That is part of the greatness of baseball three generations are brought together by an otherwise ordinary day; three generations, one still learning, one who is in the middle and one who has seen a game in Ebetts Field.
But wait, there’s more! There is little that brings people together like sport, and when something like a perfect game happens, the camaraderie that I feel just makes my day. After the game, it would have been nice to have been in Chicago, but southwest Michigan is pretty much White Sox country as well. I wanted to high-five or hug everyone I saw in Sox gear for the rest of the week. Nothing else quite does that like sport, especially baseball in the States. So, even though there is plenty wrong with baseball, it’s still the best thing going on a summer’s day. Sometimes it’s even magical.