For the Love of Baseball: A Celebration of the Game That Connects Us All
“There are many volumes that discuss in almost excruciating depth players’ stats, off field antics, amazing plays, and endless facts about the game itself. But For the Love of Baseball is different—this is personal.”
“Then there’s the smell: leather, dirt, grass, saliva, sun, spring, childhood, summer, hope, skill, anticipation, achievement, fulfillment, memory, love, joy.”
Applying a game as metaphor—a way to wrap our mind around larger life lessons—certainly isn't new. One can scarcely use imagination without stumbling over a morsel of veiled wisdom. But For the Love of Baseball delivers us to these lofty peaks without need for narrative contrivance to get us there.
These essays paint a wonderful image of wispy nostalgia, grand memories of a history that refuses to be relegated to the past. Yet, as with much of history, we are well served to remember it and whenever possible to look fondly upon it with a sense of comfort.
For the Love of Baseball is about our love of the game on a warm, often intimate, and touching level. It's about the iconic objects and childhood moments that never make it to a major league field. It's about all the sensory elements that stay with us our entire lives, like the scent of the outfield grass, the voice of a parent yelling from the bleachers, or the metallic ding of an aluminum bat.
There are many volumes that discuss in almost excruciating depth players’ stats, off field antics, amazing plays, and endless facts about the game itself. But For the Love of Baseball is different—this is personal.
Our game of baseball isn't one which we largely cheer on from the stands or from in front of our televisions; it's one in which many of us participate as children. As with anything that grabs hold of us from the inside, baseball becomes part of the fabric of our lives.
Philip Deaver writes "The Golden summer evenings I remember from growing up have been gone. Did they slip by and I didn't notice? And is it innocence or the light I am missing?” In the case of our affair with baseball our innocence no longer cloaks us but rather tugs at our coattails, and the light which once made us squint while standing in the batter’s box has shifted as creeping shadows cover home plate. But as was then it is now and likely shall always be the game that stays with us, a game many of us take to heart and call our own.
Indeed, there may be many who "play the game better, know the game better, love the game better" than we—it might just be etched into our DNA. Our game isn't simply woven into the national fabric but is woven into families, generations of individuals who nurture their love for it in their own unique manner.
This most American of games finds ingress to our souls and gently grows as a child would. Those seven words of dialogue from Field of Dreams, “Hey Dad . . . wanna have a catch?” reduces grownup into glassy-eyed children.
With each fading winter comes the hope of spring, a cycle of renewal and rebirth, and so it is with our pastime. We grow a little older with each passing season, but For the Love of Baseball celebrates a time when we fell in love with the game.