Thursday, October 05, 2006

Two inches

The sticky, suffocating August dripped from the South Carolina sky and slithered under the heavy camouflage that covered our skin. We marched on what would have been a dusty road had the dirt not been coated with the sweat of the sky, and our rucksacks were filled with weight but not substance, arms loaded down with M-16s, and pretend enemies hid in the tall Carolina pines. It was Basic Training for the Army. It was hot. It was humid. But most of all, I was missing baseball.

I had crammed as much baseball into June 2000 as I could. In April and half of May, I had been frolicking with the Irish around the Dublin environs and missed the start of the season. I managed five games in that abbreviated summer - two in Cleveland against the Indians - before life stopped. I was no longer a civilian.

When we stood in the chowline each day, there were newspaper pages posted on the walls, including the baseball standings. I skipped the Russian sunken submarine articles despite their tragic sadness and made sure I knew how Griffey and the Reds were doing.

I bought the two inch color television when Basic Training was over and I was stuck at Fort Jackson due to administrative error. I bought it for baseball so I could watch the playoffs and World Series. These days I carry it around every October so I don't have to miss a pitch. As I was watching it on the bus home tonight, I thought about that Subway Series on that two inch screen, when a tiny Todd Zeile hit a grand slam that counted as a single because his lack of ego stopped him at first.

Yeah, I'm rooting for the Mets, as I already feel some sort of connection with them. I'll live in New York soon, I'm sure. I hope the Yankees crash and burn. I had my Subway Series. I don't need to see another.

David Wright rox. Go Mets. (Jose, Jose Jose Jose...)

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