Monday, September 05, 2011
Welcome Home, Jim Thome
I grew up watching the Chicago Cubs on WGN, but I never paid attention to the games. My mother was the avid fan in the house, the avid fan of just about any professional or college sport, in fact—football, boxing, basketball, baseball. We even watched roller derby, although I may have been the only one camped out in front of the set for that one.
As an adult, the only sport I watch on TV with any real interest is baseball, particularly the Cleveland Indians, although once a Cubs fan, always a Cubs fan. That's one connection that cannot be strained by geography. A few years ago, we spent the summer seated right behind home plate, and while Husband and No. 1 followed every pitch and base hit, and while Eustacia and I ate candy and watched people, I became familiar with the players. I also became enamored with the ball park with all of its sights and smells and sounds, the rhythm of the cheering as related to the action on the field like a giant wave or excited outburst or corporate sigh of disappointment.
I like that people know to turn their ball caps inside out when cheering for a rally, or that they applaud a pitcher who is relieved of his duties after a few unfortunate runs, or that, if you attend enough games, you become familiar with the vendors who have established their own particular patter to sell their goods. Even if you're watching at home, you can listen carefully and hear the ones stationed closest to the field—The Beer Guy who will sometimes announce he is indeed not the Pizza Guy, the loud-mouth funny man with the peanuts and Cracker Jacks, the hot dog guy who shames young men for not feeding their dates properly. "Who wants a big ol' hot dog?" he shouts at the top of his lungs.
We don't go to as many games as we used to, but in the interest of my appreciation for baseball in these waning weeks of the season, here is today's column for Small Town Newspaper. I have begun linking to them at Open Salon because they are no longer available online at STN.
at 3:42 PM