Two rows below sat a man who once was my boss. Two seats to my right was a sportswriter I didn’t know who was familiar with me.
“Excuse me. You’re not Monte Dutton, are you?”
“Sadly, yes. Nice to meet you.”
Next to me was an old friend, one I’ve known since college. It was a baseball game, and that’s the best place for old times. It may be the best place for beer. It’s assuredly the best place for hot dogs. There’s something about the game that even makes unruly kids settle down. The ones who’d be maddening on an airplane, or in the supermarket, or even at a football game, are cute little angels at a baseball game.
People who say baseball is boring overlook the fact that it is relaxing.
The Greenville Drive and the Augusta Greenjackets played fifteen innings, and I was out late watching it. The Drive left me with a long drive home, but since they won, even that was appropriate. It was too hot for a jacket, green or otherwise, and, besides, I’ve never won the Masters.
I think a baseball game, particularly minor-league or college, is my favorite place to talk. It may even be about baseball. It may be about some obscure incident that occurred thirty years ago. It may be just general satire. Baseball brings out the irreverence in me, and there’s a lot. A major part of me is made out of satire, a claim that experts will neither confirm nor deny. As a doctor might say, “Define satire.” As I might say, “You’ve got a smart phone. Look it up.”
Lots of baseball scouts were sitting around us, filling in their score sheets, pecking away at their tablets, and pointing their radar guns. My friend played baseball in college. I wrote about baseball for a good portion of my first decade out of college. I watch a lot of it on TV. This year the Boston Red Sox stink. I still watch them, but I don’t pay as much attention. I read novels, and play my guitar, and when the game gets interesting, I pay attention. As much as I hate knowing in the first week of August that the Red Sox aren’t going anywhere but home this year, it is less stressful. I’ll be ready for the Carmines to be potent again next year. The world championship last year will pacify me for a while.
I’ve got another appointment twenty miles away on Wednesday, which also happens to be the last night of the homestand. The end of the minor-league season is only a few weeks away. It might not be a bad idea to catch some more serenity while I can.
I wrote a short story about a baseball scout earlier this year. Here’s a link: https://wellpilgrim.wordpress.com/2014/03/27/a-nice-break-from-desolation/