I believe in the Zen of baseball.
My husband of 25 years, distracted by his Blackberry for the whole subway ride, does not witness the rousing exhilaration of seeing the beckoning brand new Citi Field Stadium lights through the fog.
We walk out the sliding “7” train doors toward the haloed lights with a “Let’s Go Mets” chanting mob, flashing their digital cameras.
Our crisp exhibition game tickets never leave our hands but simply scan through the digital turnstiles of the 21st century.
Riding up the Jackie Robinson rotunda escalator my mind flashes back to my first time at the then brand new Three Rivers Stadium, the time my dad took me and my brother and I watched Roberto Clemente with a child’s awe.
As the escalator ascends, the parks of my past parade through my memory: Three Rivers Stadium, Riverfront Stadium, Dodger Stadium; frequent moves have made me a woman of many adopted home teams.
My husband takes my hand, interrupting my day dream. He anxiously leads me to the Citi Field version of what were our Shea seats.
As the ground crew rolls the billowing tarp off the virgin field my mind again wanders, this time remembering my first date with my husband at the old Cleveland Municipal Stadium. Over the years of our marriage he has taken me, and our kids, to Shea Stadium, Yankee Stadium, Comiskey Park, Wrigley Field, Candlestick Park, The Oakland Coliseum, Jacobs Field, and half a dozen spring training facilities up and down both coasts of Florida. Our family life has been subtly punctuated with baseball and the countless places the game is played in both good and bad weather.
At the top of the fifth I realize we sit a mere month away from our son’s college graduation. Tonight it’s just the old man and me. I pull out my outdated pink phone and snap a photo of my husband with the game in progress in the back ground. It takes me too many minutes to text our college age kids, “wish you were here,” because I no longer easily read such small letters.
Don and I sit in the 2009 April chill watching this perennial game that doesn’t race a clock. No matter what else happens in our world, we come together, eat hot dogs, gulp beer and soda, and join our voices with the collective crowd hope for our home teams victory.