It’s Yankees vs. Cardinals at Busch Stadium this Memorial Day. I got paid the highest compliment one can receive while being a Cardinal fan. I was given a seat, (two actually, but the second seat is a different story) by a friend, in the bleachers. I received the coveted ticket because my friend’s son had better things to do at a theme park. I won’t speculate, but I will say my friend’s son is at a certain age where he’s probably noticing girls. It’s really the only logical explanation for such a choice. I haven’t seen or heard about “her”, but she must be something special for thIs particular kid to miss such an important game. The kid lives baseball…all the time. So, to hear he was relieved to find out that I was taking his seat was quite an honor.
He was relieved that an authentic Cardinal fan was taking his seat. Like my eyes, my speculation, on the events at the game, can some how alter them. Then, it hit me. The trick baseball plays on the American male psyche. The return to some sort boyhood bemusement. The leisurely observation, with the casual pauses for conversation. The opportunity to cuss and discuss topics, from the weather to world events. Baseball was designed for the socializing of it’s spectators. We don’t call it gossip, but it’s gossip–except when discussing the game. There, the player is strictly judged on their performance. The “gossip” isn’t mean spirited, it’s just the nature of baseball culture. Stats are kept for the game, but the “gossip” comes when you’re “judging” a player’s performance. The system of keeping a record of the game is well established. It’s complete. It’s orderly. It’s well kept. The gossip is in the conversations, the sidebars around the hitting cages or the in depth analysis of “the bull pin” committee. Yes, it hit me–baseball brings us back our boyhood. It sends us back to the time in life where we believed our hopes and wishes could somehow effect the outcome of the game played at the highest level. Where superstitions actually matter. It’s a nice feeling. It’s a nice mindset to find yourself in on a holiday.
To my friend’s son, I will represent your seat well. Thanks for thinking of me and paying me such a high baseball compliment.
Oh…the title? It’s what Cardinal fans say when we meet someone at the stadium. Because no matter if you’ve never been there before, if you walk long enough around the stadium. You will see a statue of Stan Musial. You can’t get lost.