It’s cold today. I mean that kind of damp cold that takes a while to shake from your bones. We’re past the midway point in February; we’re in that part of winter that drags on and on and your patience has already run out but there is nothing you can do about it. It’s maddening. I just want to crawl under the covers and wake up when it’s spring.
At least there’s Spring Training, though most of it is conducted in winter. In three days we’ll be able to hear the Reds on the radio again. These are the first signs of life, the first indication that our cold, cold world is about to wake up and give us all the warmth and light that spring and summer bring.
Baseball has gotten a little less fun over the years for me, possibly due to the internet, whose infinity of know-it-alls and mouthbreathers has ruined a lot of the enthusiasm I used to have at this time of year. Writing about baseball every day got to be too hard under the weight of all those egotistical statheads who know nothing about joy because it can’t be calculated. Those of us who preach the poetry or magic of baseball are derided as out-of-touch or ridiculous because our society has discarded the craft of language and the art of reading, replacing them with 30 second soundbites and 140 character phrases.
The other day I saw a comment on Facebook from a guy who is a frothing ideologue. A friend had posted a long article from the New Yorker on victims of gun violence. The comment said the article was too long to read, but the guy went ahead and gave his opinion anyway, oblivious to the fact that he had just said he didn’t have the patience to be informed. It perfectly summed up the age of the internet. ADD. ICYMI, those of us who write long-form prose are SOL.
Baseball is a game of which nostalgia is an essential part. The trend is to view the concept of nostalgia as something only backwards people ascribe to, people who are unwilling to embrace that we have moved into a new era where the latest technological advances are worshiped as if we’ve reached the end of history. But all eras end, bringing about the beginning of new eras. That doesn’t mean we have to discard everything from the past. Part of what makes baseball different from other sports is that it is intertwined with American history. Take away the history and you have just a game with bats and balls and overpaid prima donnas who think they are entitled to the world.
I’m an amateur dabbler in metaphysical psychology. I don’t know if that’s even a real term, but that sums it up pretty well. Comparative religion is far too restrictive a term, for the realm of the spirit is not confined to deities and scriptures. Metaphysical psychology concerns the energy of the universe, our collective unconscious, the communion of souls. Nostalgia is a spiritual experience. It’s only when our consciences get in the way that nostalgia becomes something like poison, when we begin to speak about the “good old days” or cling to outdated notions of life and society. That’s when nostalgia becomes dangerous; it becomes a weapon for the powerful to prey on the weak. But feeling nostalgia for a game, letting ourselves succumb to the memories of childhood, letting ourselves feel connected to ancestors we never met, letting ourselves embrace a history of a team and a city…that is healthy. It is a part of our identities. And I’m not going to apologize for it.
With that, I announce the intention to start writing for this blog again. I think I may have announced this in previous years, but this year, the circumstances of my life are different, and I think I have the motivation and the time to do it. So go Reds!