“It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops…..”
Passage of time and another season that was meant to be. Whether you cheer for a team that has 27 World Series rings or one that has none…we are brethren in this day. All those that read this filled space of the blogosphere feel a similar passion for this game we love. Whether it be in real life, in drafting the perfect fantasy team, in cardboard fashion or all of the above. There are days that pass where the only thing I want to do is spend my time immersed in this game. Gone are the days of afternoon to late evening games every day. But there are a few days like that and if I have my druthers, usually a little boy is by my side. Oh how he loves this game, his team (White Sox), his player (Abreu). Despite his love for a team that differs from my team, his passion reaches deep into my soul. I share with him the love of this game, this hobby. It is a connection I will always cherish and hope we can enjoy throughout our lives.
Beyond the cardboard, I also enjoy the decoration that goes along with the game I love. Particularly, one wall of the man cave/game room with some of my favorite pictures. Despite living in the Chicago area, the team I cheer for is a bit east of the Windy City and should be evident in that decoration.
Some of these items can be found at a local card shop, flea market or sports show. Some are not. On an adjacent wall is a bat collection that displays the stadiums visited over the past decade. It is not mine, but my wife’s bucket list item to visit every MLB ball park. Twenty down, two more will be completed in the next few months. Those two would be Tampa and Cleveland. Cleveland will be the first time I don’t partake in the visit as it will be a girl’s weekend away as I stay at home with the kiddos, and I’m good with that. Cleveland will be a visited town again for me.
The bats are on display as a completed visit by league. Tied for the moment, but not for long. The baseballs above, my addition. Now if I could only find the Jeter and Griffey Jr/Sr autographed balls to add to the others in the picture, all would be good. I’m 99.9% confident I know where they are. Question is…do I want to dig through the 8 foot stack of boxes in a tucked away corner to find them? One of these days………….
Back to the purpose of this post. The most cherished of the pictured items are one of a kind, literally. For all the why’s that go along with my continued pursuit of more, more, more cardboard, my wife shares her talents when it comes to the decorating. Whether it be for a birthday or just an “I love you” gesture, the few items below are a reminder that we are both baseball people through and through. First, I present…Donnie Baseball.
A hand drawn picture of my favorite Yankee of my younger years. This man could flat out hit when he was in his prime. Unfortunately, that didn’t last as long as I would have liked and he was unable to participate in the celebration of 1996. All I can say is that the detail required a tremendous amount of time and effort. The “23” is a series of drawn horizontal lines that will never be duplicated according to the artist, again, my wife.
The next drawing encompasses a few images in drawn, printed, and pictured fashion. We had visited Old Yankee Stadium a number of times and, to date, have yet to visit the new stadium. That will happen in time, basically when the little ones can walk a few miles without asking to be carried most of the way. We are fast approaching that time so maybe next year. Always next year. J
The picture above is from September 21, 2008. The final game ever played at Yankee Stadium, “The House That Ruth Built”. There was no way I could let that game slide by without being there. Being at that game was the only thing on my mind for over six months. It’s amazing that this was over eight years ago. I vividly remember that day, that trip, as if it were just last fall. As beautiful as the previous drawings are, they place a tie for close second when it comes to the gift she gave me after this trip.
The only stadium that could bring tears to this man’s eyes. Along with our tickets to the game, this drawing is created from a picture taken that day. Perfection, to me, when it comes to where we were, what we saw and what was to be the end of an era. I remember standing there in awe that this would be the last time I would ever see a game in this stadium. The two words “Final” and “Farewell” don’t do this place justice yet it is the only words that are needed. Yes, it’s a concrete building. Yes, it was grass, dirt and some not so comfortable seats. And yes, it housed some horrible teams and a few not so spectacular players. But it was HOME. Home to the some of the most incredible teams and players that anyone could be lucky enough to have seen. And, also home to the many fans, good or bad. Passion is what makes the fans of NY stand out. Whether you liked them or not, and by that I mean the team or the people, they had one thing in common. They all wanted to depart that building listening to Ole Frank singing ‘New York, New York”. As a fan from afar, I considered myself lucky enough to see this team play maybe a dozen times over the years. I never watched them lose in this stadium. For that, I am thankful. For the artist of these creations, my wife, I am grateful. Thank you, my dear.