Among my earliest memories are hot afternoons, listening to Bob Prince call the Pittsburgh Pirate game over the old radio my dad would drag out onto the porch, tripping Mom repeatedly in the kitchen with the stretched-out cord. The crackling sound of Prince’s voice and the raspy-whisperish quality of KDKA AM made it all incredibly beautiful, like summer music, cricket chirps and popping corn sounds drifting from the kitchen screen door, soft sunsets and the sound of cheering from down the block when the Bucs did something wonderful. It was later in the1960s, post Mazeroski’s World Series win and sliding into the Clemente era. I was ten-years old and hooked. Fifty-five years later, I still am.
I never got to sit in Forbes Field before it was torn down, but Three Rivers Stadium was my place of baseball worship. Win or lose, close or in the dumps, I was there, glued to the radio, television, or in my double-header seven-hour stadium seat, smiling ear-to-ear. To me, baseball is magic, it’s cerebral, intelligent, brutal, selfish, caring, athletic, and soul fulfilling. If I was born a man, I would probably still be in the minors, a geriatric rookie struggling to make it to the show. I love baseball that much. Even when, and especially when, the Pirates are not doing so well.
In my old age, I’m finding it harder and harder to deal with fair-weather fans. People who want to blame the owner, the manager, the players, the league, and even baseball itself for the Pirates tough time. We kicked off the 2018 season with a bang, several times sitting pretty in first place, then, as is normal and natural, the cycle cycled and we started losing. Today I don’t look at the win/loss stats, I look into struggling pitcher’s eyes during his wind-up, the desperate swing Mercer just made, the hopefulness in rookie Meadow’s expression, and the wisdom in Hurdle’s managing heart. He knows it’s a very long season. It’s a game. It runs on faith, and skill, and power, and joy, and excitement … and disappointment. It’s baseball. I’m fine with that. I cheer and hope right along side my buccos.
I’m especially sad to hear the negativity in the Pittsburgh Pirate announcer’s words these days. When did it become okay for paid announcers to cheer on the competition instead of look for something, anything, good to say about the team that pays them? When did it become fine to complain, and groan, and moan? I’m all for balanced reporting and calling the play as they see it, but do we really need the drawn out repetitive statements six innings later. So, it was an error, move on already.
There are days when I have to turn off the sound altogether and just watch the silent screen. That’s when I see them, the angels in the outfield, and the infield, on the mound, in the dugout, all working hard and supporting the players. That’s when I know it’s going to be the best game it can be. Sometimes we lose, sometimes we win. It’s the nature of the game.
See I have a baseball theory. I honestly believe that God loves baseball so much that he doesn’t interfere, he just watches and enjoys the game. So that’s what I do. It’s a game. It’s beautifully orchestrated technique and mayhem. And it’s a mess of amazing plays, and errors and screw ups, from the top to the A leagues but hey, it’s baseball!
The main thing to always remember this summer and every summer is … that there really are angels in the outfield.
When was the last time you caught sight of an angel in the outfield?
Welcome to ANGEL MOMENTS. My ideas are here, but I really want to hear your thoughts on angels, how they influence your life, and how you experience this amazing blessing.