Sunday Morning Opera: Baseball Is Back

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Screen Shot 2014-03-31 at 12.59.05 AMAny true opera fanatic knows there is a direct coloration to opera and baseball.

Today the world is young again.  It is a day of infinite possibilities where anything can happen.  It is a day where you crave a hot dog, need peanuts, and Crackerjacks.  Baseball is back.  Unfortunately, the White House has not seen fit to declare the Opening Day a national holiday, which it should be.

There are always images that stick in our minds, decades after they were reality.  This is mine, the 4th game of the 1976 World Series, when MY MAN blew the damn Yankees to oblivion.  That 2nd home run was one of the greatest moments of my life.  When this photo, from SI came out, a few days later, I bought several copies.  One was tapped onto the mirror in my bedroom, at my parent’s home in South Carolina.  Several years ago, when they sold the house, I carefully slit the tape, and just as carefully nursed the precious image back to New Mexico.  One of my best friends has a frame shop here.  She mounted it on a mirror, then framed it with a two inch wooden Cincinnati Red frame for me.  This was MY moment!

If you are a true baseball fan, we all have moments like that.  I have an uncle who told me that I would never be a real baseball fan until I chose a player, followed him from the first days of his MLB career, to the Hall of Fame.  Then, once he was inducted, baseball would never again be the same.  He was right.  I still have the clippings I saved from MY MAN’s first month with the Reds.  I have the clipping from his HOF induction.  Baseball has never been the same.   It is now about history, nostalgia, and a beauty that is framed in the mists of time, accompanied by sounds – the crack of a bat and the slap of a ball in a mitt – and the music.   Of all the sports, only baseball has inspired such a treasure of music.

Take me out to the ball game
Take me out with the crowd
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack
I don’t care if I never get back
Let me root, root, root for the home team
If they don’t win it’s a shame
For it’s one, two, three strikes, you’re out
At the old ball game

There’s a line in the song, Move Over Babe, Here Comes Henry that just says it all: He’s what baseball is all about!

They say this is the greatest modern baseball song.  Maybe it is.

It is about nostalgia, heartbreak, and the agonizing feeling of loss, when you know the world will never be good again – but a few years later,  you are so sated with the amazing feeling of victory that the heart-break is erased.

And …. the sequel!

As for MY MAN, if you haven’t figure out who he is by now, then you just don’t know baseball, do you?

“…They’ll come to Iowa for reasons they can’t even fathom. They’ll turn into your driveway, not knowing for sure why they’re doing it. They’ll arrive at your door, as innocent as children, longing for the past. “Of course, we won’t mind if you look around,” you’ll say, “It’s only twenty dollars per person.” And they’ll pass over the money without even thinking about it, for it is money they have and peace they lack. And they’ll walk off to the bleachers and sit in their short sleeves on a perfect afternoon. And find they have reserved seats somewhere along the baselines where they sat when they were children. And cheer their heroes. And they’ll watch the game, and it’ll be as they’d dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick, they’ll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come, Ray. The one constant through all the years Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again. Oh people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come….”

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