I was chatting with a friend the other day, and they mentioned something about still feeling like they could hear Jack Buck talking sometimes. It made me think back to a paper I wrote a few years ago. I had to go dig it out of the black hole otherwise known as my storage closet, but it made me smile when I did track it down. I'm missing baseball terribly these days, and I know many of you are too. I have two little stories from my past that I'm going to toss up here over the next few days. Hopefully you'll enjoy this first little tale, known simply as "Carried Away"...
It's time! It's time! I bolted into the room and jumped on the couch, grabbing the remote to the radio and turning it on all in one motion. The smooth, even voice of Jack Buck floated into my room, filling the air with the sound of thousands of fans filing into their seats. I settled down on the couch, pulling a blanket up over my lap and holding the remote tightly in my hand, as if it was my lifeline to this new world I was hearing through the speakers.
"Good afternoon and welcome to a new season! It's been a long winter, but spring is here and so are we! We're glad you could join us on this bright, sunny April afternoon!" Suddenly I felt as if I was carried 300 miles away, and I was at the game myself. I walked smoothly out of the metro car, and could hear the sounds of the stadium from the station. As I joined the throng that was heading for the front gates, I breathed in the smell of peanuts and popcorn wafting towards me. I handed my ticket to the worker at the turnstiles and began the ascent to my seat.
As I worked my way up through the ballpark, I tried peeking in through the walkways to see if I could catch a glimpse of the field. When I reached the upper level and walked through the concrete passage into the seating area, my eyes and ears were filled with the sight and smell of the freshly cut green grass, groomed to perfection. The white of the home team's jerseys stood in stark contrast to the green of the grass. The players moved across the field, stretching and warming up, preparing for the game's imminent start.
I reached my seat and sat down in the cool red plastic, ready to shout and yell and cheer for my team. The first pitch was delivered, and the pop of the ball hitting the glove resounded in my ears. The crowd roared in approval as the ump yelled, "Strike one!" and the game had begun. It was then that I noticed the vendors beginning their parade around the park. The cries of, "Lemonade, lemonade, lemonade!" and "Peanuts! Get your peanuts!" were heard over the constant buzz of the fans in the stands. I raised my arm and ordered up a pretzel, and after taking a bite of the salty treat, decided that a water bottle might help as well. After flagging down another sweaty vendor and quenching my thirst, I turned my focus back to the game.
The game progressed, and the rise and fall of the wave showed the enthusiasm of the crowd around me. I watched in wonder as I saw a player leap up against the wall, catching the ball and saving a crushing blow to the pitcher's ego, as well as a couple of runs on the scoreboard. As the stands erupted with appreciation for the feat, I realized that I had leaped from my seat myself, caught up in the awe of the moment.
We reached the middle of the seventh, and I stood with 40,000 of my newest friends to join in singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." As every man, woman, child, and mascot stood, stretched their limbs, and raised their voices to the heavens, joining in with the chords of the organ, I felt like I was hanging out with family instead of complete strangers. I looked around at the people surrounding me, clad in their bright red clothing. Their faces were cheery with the laughter and smiles indicative of of the fans watching a winning ballclub.
At the end of the game as we all moved toward the exit, I felt the thrill of victory after an exciting game. I floated on air as I made my way back to the metro station and waited for the train to make its way toward us. I climbed aboard just before the door closed, and joined in with the happy chatter of the other red-clad fans, talking about the exciting win.
It was then that I heard a new, familiar yet out of place voice coming back into my ears. It was the sound of my old friend, Mike Shannon, thanking me for tuning in and signing off for the night. It was then that I realized I was back in my room, on my couch. I looked around and saw the blanket I had thrown off in a moment of excitement in the game. Next to it sat the remote which I had thrown down in a fit of frustration, ejecting the batteries in the process. I put it back together and turned off the radio. Tomorrow would be another game, and another opportunity to be carried away.
Is it spring yet?