There are so many sentiments and emotions I have wanted to express lately, but the words escaped me. Like many of you, I have felt, at various times, confused, scared, and alone. And in isolation, the frustration of writer’s block is only amplified. I haven’t known what to say for what feels like ages, but today, on Opening Day, I finally know where to start.
I miss baseball.
I miss walking up the ramp at Fenway Park and being dazzled by the blue sky and the Green Monster and the yellow Pesky Pole and the Red Seat. And man, do I miss the sunsets.
I miss the feeling I get before every single game that something special is about to happen, because anything can happen.
I miss the notification on my phone that a game is about to start, and the unceasing notifications about pitching changes and score changes that I could turn off, but I don’t, because I love this game too much, even when it drives me nuts.
I miss sharing the game I love most with the people I love most, and I miss sharing it with all of you.
I miss the Red Sox.
I miss them so much that I’ve even been nice about the bullpen lately, the same arms who gave me fits every game last season.
Heck, I even miss the Yankees.
The scariest thing about the time we’re living in right now is that we don’t know when things are going to get better. There’s no expiration date on coronavirus, and there’s no start date for sports. For the first time in a long time, we cannot point to our calendars and count down to baseball. The comfort of knowing that after a long, dark offseason, baseball will return is, for the time being, gone.
People grieve loss in different ways. Some are motivated by kindness, others lash out. Some look at the glass as half-full, others only see the emptiness. People grieve differently because people are different. But what we all share is a love of this game, and that, above all, is what we need to remember on the hardest days. And the thing about this loss is that it isn’t permanent. We are losing time and games, but we’re not losing baseball. This isn’t forever, and that’s what we need to keep reminding ourselves and each other. We’re lucky; most things that are lost, we don’t get back.
One day, baseball will be back. And imagine how profoundly and epically glorious that day will be. We will all don our favorite team’s jerseys and caps, head to our local ballpark or favorite sports bar, and reunite with each other and the game we all cherish. We’ll cheer and groan together through the highs and the lows. We’ll sing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame,” and do the 7th-Inning Stretch, and hopefully, at the end of the game, “Dirty Water” and “Tessie” will blast through the Fenway speakers in victorious fashion.
It will happen eventually, and it will be so spectacular when it does. That’s the vision I’m holding on to every day until it comes to fruition.
And until that day comes, there are hundreds of David Ortiz home run videos on Youtube.
Happy Opening Day, from my baseball-loving heart to yours.
Photo by the author