It’s true. Iowa became a state in 1846 and the first baseball game as far as we know was played one year earlier in 1845. That makes baseball relatively young compared to cricket, boxing, or horse racing which date back a few centuries. I blame these thoughts on my mp3 player.
The sound of car wheels whooshing is sometimes too much, so I always wear an MP3 player as an audio shock absorber just in case. I fill it up with all kinds of music and baseball podcasts and I’m never disappointed.
Stealing Home is a bit like the NPR radio show All Things Considered in its sincerity and seriousness, but the subject matter is strictly baseball. David Temple is the producer and host.
I’m tuned to Episode 3, “International Baseball” while walking up and then down Mount Royal which really isn’t a mountain. It’s a big hill, but whatever. It’s quiet and soothing and so is Temple’s voice. Maybe it’s too soothing because when I reach cote des neiges road, I duck into a Second Cup and fork over $2.07 for a small coffee without feeling the least bit ripped off.
I sit outside and notice the sound of soft Japanese flutes coming from the speaker. On any other day the sound would not mix too well with the squeaks of bus brakes, but on this day, I’m distracted.
Tom Fee is an organist from Perth Australia and David Temple wants to know how he first got smitten by baseball. It turns out that Belle and Sebastien were the culprits, specifically the song “Piazza, New York catcher.”Tom Fee says he got confused by the lyrics, “the catcher bats .318” and so he looked up batting average on Wikipedia and then clicked somewhere else and else and else and 3 hours later, he finally came up for air. He now writes about baseball for a Perth newspaper.
I was done with my coffee at this point, but let the podcast roll on as I sat there doing nothing. The next interview was with John Fitzgerald, director of the 2006 documentary Emerald Diamond; the history of baseball in Ireland and the Irish National Baseball Team. Fitzgerald envisions 20 years of building diamonds and player development before an Irish native makes it to the major leagues.
A man and woman walk arm in arm towards the Second Cup door. She is noticeably pregnant. I’m sometimes bothered by couples and their babies looking happy or maybe I just feel bad for the newborn that will soon greet the world with an awful sounding scream. But on this day, I’m happy for all three of them.
They aren’t really walking. They’re strolling like two swans across a lake united by this third someone inside the mother’s stomach marinating and well, opening day 2014 is in Sydney, Australia and maybe baseball is just beginning to fly.