The perfect game

In the November Sierra lead category (a phrase the esteemed Dr. Henry Price of the University of South Carolina school of journalism used to mean 'No Shit'), I love baseball.

Everyone knows that. What I try to do sometimes in this blog is explain why.

Yes, it's the game. It's the selective drama of full counts and foul-by-inches and the bottom of the ninth with runners on and a 98 mph fastball on the way.  

But it's also everything that surrounds the game. It's the outfield grass, crisply cut into patterns (the simpler, the better, in my humble opinion). It's the blue sky soaring above centerfield. It's the uniforms, those baggy pants and high (sometimes) socks that, in any other circumstance, would look ridiculous on grown men.  

It's the ticket takers at the gate who say 'Enjoy the game' in accents from honeyed to hurried. It's the mother and son playing catch by an unused hot dog concession stand on the 300 level. It's discovering local brews (Walt Wit beer at Citizens Bank Park) and delicacies (garlic fries at Yankee Stadium). 

It's the fact that last night I watched night fall across New York City with the man I love from a seat I would never have occupied if I hadn't gone to a baseball game. 

It's finding out that all the talk of rude New Yorkers is just plain wrong. It's the subway rumbling along the outfield wall as Bronx apartment buildings watch impassively. It's the opportunity, in the afternoon hours before first pitch, to navigate the Long Island Railroad to Manhattan, where a friend who hasn't changed one bit in the six years since I've seen him waited to buy me a deliciously different lunch.  

It's driving across bridges strung like pearls and water sparkling like diamond chips. It's seeing new things and smelling new smells and hearing new things, like the rowdy right-field bleacher fans at Yankee Stadium, or the Miller man hawking beh heah. 

It's the shadow of the setting sun against the iconic brick of the warehouse bordering Camden Yards. It's the happiness on my husband's face as he discovers a park that speaks to his four-seamed soul almost as eloquently as his beloved Citizens Bank. It's the vast selection of tasty beverages and it is, perhaps above all else, bacon on a stick. 

It's everything good and beautiful and worth taking risks (such as making a left on 42nd Street) for.  

It's baseball.  

The (reconfigured) iconic porch of Yankee Stadium

The (reconfigured) iconic porch of Yankee Stadium

Clouds over Gotham

Clouds over Gotham

Trains in the outfield

Trains in the outfield

The park the started the new revolution, Camden Yards

The park the started the new revolution, Camden Yards

Bacon on a stick. Gotta love it.

Bacon on a stick. Gotta love it.

A thoroughly fantastic park, from the atmosphere to the ale.

A thoroughly fantastic park, from the atmosphere to the ale.