This post is the third in a nine-part series from Joshua Murray on his reflections on baseball, on his grandfather, and on finding God in every blade of grass. For Part Two, click here.
I am the first to admit that I was late to the baseball game. And the love of the game. But I can say that I truly love it.
Maybe then too it is no coincidence that at the age that I gave up church, I found baseball for the first time.
I’m not trying to say that I was under a rock and didn’t know it existed. No no, I even played Little League for a bit, or tried to. Maybe that is why I never liked baseball. I was a lefty when I was up at bat and I was at an age where the coaches were just first teaching the kids how to pitch.
Pitchers at that age only know two things. How to throw as hard as they can, and that it works best to throw outside to a righty…which usually is directly in the lefty batters box. If I wasn’t getting hit by the pitch, I was certainly ducking out of the way of a ball. Some that weren’t even close but I was so timid and gun-shy that it wouldn’t matter.
My dad became very physically sick and disabled when I was very young so whereas he was around, he wasn’t able to play sports with me. So for a large chunk of my life I threw like a girl, because my mom taught me how to throw. Something only now at 31 am I working to remedy by having a friend who played college baseball teach me to throw the correct way.
All of these things combined to make me dislike baseball. I remember when I couldn’t find pieces of my uniform I was so excited at the idea that I might not have to play. Being fairly sick most of my childhood and in and out of hospitals and surgery I learned to develop my creative and artistic side because sports weren’t in the cards for me. Something I didn’t grow out of until I was 29 and started to lose weight and become more active than anyone could have ever predicted I would get. So I never understood it.
I once went to a Yankee game when I was in my Little League days with my sister and my brother and his girlfriend and her family and we sat on the bleachers and threw pennies at the people in box seats because for some reason we had to hate them. Calling back and forth “Bleachers bite!” “Box Seats Suck!” When I was 23 I went to a Yankees game again but remember nothing about it except how green the grass is. Which is something everyone says, and something that hits me every time I see go to a game. In 2011, the Giants faced the Mets 4 days in a row in New York and I took off work to go watch them at Citifield and each day the grass looked greener than the day before. The dirt browner. The lines whiter. The bases were little squares that were just so perfectly white. Then I drove to Philly to see the Giants play twice, each time the grass so green. Every blade of it. The thrill of that grass. So baseball was around but I was blind to it. It held no more interest to me than any other sport out there. All of it was pointless. I didn’t like it.
I didn’t know what I was missing. And I didn’t care.