Milwaukee’s shuttle bus to Miller Park is #90 with a dashboard flashing “Go Brewers.” The green limousine rolls along Wisconsin Avenue, turns on 45th street and Bluemound Road.
I like getting off at Robin Yount Drive before the descent into Menominee Valley. The slow stroll along the north parking lot is tailgater dome grills, lawn chairs, frisbee, beer, brats, and banter.
Miller Park disappears from view inside a short over pass tunnel and then there she is looking like a mix of Ebbet’s Field, European train station, and outer space insect.
And when I’m far away roaming Montreal in search of nothing in particular, that descent into the valley is with me like a lucky roll of will, urban design, and destiny turning my feet into a wild card compass; guiding me towards unexpected places.
It’s just an old baseball field on the north side of Mount Royal beside Bates street, but my mind slips into focus.
There’s a scoreboard in right center. Most of the bulbs for balls, strikes, and outs are missing. Five light towers hover over the field. There is something ethereal about baseball at night.
But there are no more games on this field. All the elements are free to fade away like a savage beach. The sun is out on this day and a family of four is playing. Dad is pitcher, mom catcher. Girl plays first base, boy bats. No one seems to know what day it is. Neither do I.
There are no ghosts on the base paths and no cleats crunching echoes on the asphalt, but I still wonder about kids from 1976 and their 7 inning game not being enough, hopping on sting ray bikes and riding east along Ducharme and north up St. Laurence towards Jarry Park for a swim and the Expos hosting the San Diego Padres.
Or maybe it was 20 years earlier in 1956 and kids turned right on St. Laurent street and rode south and east towards Delorimier Stadium where the Montreal Royals were playing the Syracuse Chiefs and Jackie Robinson was at a second base or in the batter’s box adding to his .468 OB% that season, his only one in Montreal.