Play Ball

There’s a certain guiltless pleasure to be had in following a baseball game, and cheering for “your”

It’s held in the idea of a meaningless past-time. The world will not benefit or suffer if the Baltimore Orioles beat my beloved Boston Red Sox today...oh, sure, here in Fenway Park the crowds will mourn, but let’s put the outcome into perspective: lives won’t be lost or saved, governments will not crumble, and the universe will continue to expand and swirl in it’s magnificent indifference.

Baseball offers an escape. Baseball opens itself to you with the understanding that it IS only a game, but for nine innings your soul can indulge in the fantasy that every pitch, every swing, and every play can lead to exuberant victory or devastating failure.

Baseball invites us to pretend that it really matters, and in that altered reality, we condition ourselves for the real forces at work, out there...beyond the green monster walls of this ball park, in the real world.

It’s played on a diamond that is situated on a field...three fields in fact, left, right and center...and within that diamond there are bases where runners can find safety...basemen who are trying to tag them out and in the very center of it all, at the very core of the game and middle of the field...is the pitcher...a player who takes a leather wrapped, red-lace-stitched five and a quarter ounce nine inch round spheroid...and throws it at a speed of over 90 miles per hour at a batter on home plate who hopes to round the bases and return back home.

That’s how the game is played, but what’s important...what makes this event a national past time is the
reverent connection we have with this game that makes it so much more than just a game.

My father played baseball, I played baseball, my stepsons played baseball and one day, my grandchildren will play baseball.

We call it by other names: softball, wiffleball, and T-ball...we play it on different fields; ball parks, parking lots, and in the middle of the street. We use our favorite bats, balls and gloves and wear our own uniforms with local team names that bind us together as comrades.

At the heart of it, this game takes us away from our worries and concerns...at ball parks like Fenway, it presents us with a rural field within the cacophony of a city to witness something that doesn’t really matter, doesn’t truly change anything in our lives or in the lives of others...but can bring us peaceful calm, joyful cheering and groaning disappointment.

Most of all, baseball is timeless. Not just because it’s play transcends the generations of those who have played it...but because there is no time limit for completion. 

You come here to the ball park, grab yourself a bag of peanuts, a hot dog and maybe a cold beer...and you sit through nine innings of play. It could take one hour, three hours or even much longer...there is no time limit, and best of all, there is no rush.

Out there, in the real world: you will be rushed. 

Out there, in the real world, you will experience events that matter, circumstances that will affect lives, instances of wonderful and painful reality.

As runners, we are familiar with this kind of escape. But our sport, and our game is all about the clock...it’s all about beating that clock, setting a record and finding the peace beyond understanding at the only base we have: the finish line.

A leisurely run is something quite different; it has no rules, it requires no clock...it’s just you and the world, rolling under your feet.

The world can be harsh, and painful, and boring and tragic...but there are places to go, events to be experienced which can offer you solice from the pressure, stress and pains of life:

Here, you can run home.

Here you can be safe.

Here you can play ball.

I’m Steve Runner, reminding you to run long and taper.