Monday, April 3, 2006

Hope Springs Eternal

The Detroit Tigers are ready to roar this year.

Having been with them in 1968 (I still remember Denny McLain winning 31 games. When was the last time any of these present-day steroid-mongers did that? Huh?) and 1984 when they went 35-1 from Opening Day to the end of May, I still see hope for the guys at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull (except it’s now Comerica Park and it’s someplace else. Oh well).

Baseball is summer and childhood. It’s sitting on the back porch and listening to a scratchy AM radio signal from WJR with Ernie Harwell calling the game from a faraway place like Boston or Baltimore on a muggy June night as the lightning bugs blinked and danced down by the edge of the lawn. It’s sitting in the bleachers on a sunny and hot afternoon and watching the game and reading the program and buying the bobble-head and waving the pennant — and still listening to the game on the little Motorola transistor radio with the earphone so you could follow the game.

Baseball is theatre with lights and costumes and rituals and production numbers and heroes and villains. It is hope and disappointment, joy and sorrow, and the elements of metaphor and semiotics have not been lost on the poets and the playwrights. Like all performances, each member of the audience participates in their own way and sees it differently than the person next to them, yet they share a common experience.

And it’s just plain fun to watch.

Go get ’em, Tigers.