It embarrasses me a little bit to say that I just finished reading Joe Posnanski's book, The Soul of Baseball, for the first time. I mean, Posnanski is may all-time favorite sportswriter, the main reason I want to be a sportswriter too. I'm not entirely sure why I didn't get my hands on the book before "Santa" brought it to me yesterday morning. What kind of fan doesn't even read her favorite writer's book? I suppose I could have checked it out at my university's library -- I checked, and they do have it -- but I have a tendency to avoid the library, even though I love reading.
Anyway, what that all amounts to is the fact that I had Christmas music playing in the background as I read stories about Buck O'Neil and a huge cast of other people, from baseball greats to a random woman in a red dress. My music of choice this year has been a steady stream of Trans-Siberian Orchestra tunes. I've known about them for a number of years now, but this is the first year I have listened -- really, truly listened -- to all of their music and the messages behind it, and I've found a lot of similarities between their songs and Joe Po's stories about Buck.
One thing I love about TSO's songs is their insistence that everyone hold on to the wide-eyed magical feeling that surrounds Christmas when one is very young. The songs say that sometimes with lyrics, but the song "First Snow" says it best with no words at all. It sounds exactly like how it felt to be a kid and to wake up to find the yard and everything was covered with snow for the first time, and to want nothing more than to be outside, rolling in the snow, building things with it, catching it on your tongue, not caring how cold it might be outside or how slick the roads might be. Snow meant joy back then, and even though I mostly hate it now, in the few minutes of that song, I feel exactly like I did when I was little and I still loved it. The music is teaching me to recapture the joys of being a kid instead of the cynicism of being a starving college student.
That's what reading about Buck O'Neil feels like for a baseball-loving soul thirsting for goodness in an age of steroids, too-big contracts, and all that crap. This book invigorated my spirit in a way I forgot a book could do. I know in my head that I love baseball, and I'll tell that to anyone who will listen, but I think my heart had forgotten the true depth of the joy that the game brings to my life; simple things like seeing how many sunflower seeds I could spit into a bucket near my usual perch next to the O-Royals dugout, or the steady, comforting rhythm of batting practice.
I read all of TSOB in one day, begrudgingly putting it down only when I had to join my family for Christmas dinner and some card games. After that and some Wii-playing, it was back to the book. After several hours, nestled in my bed with my dog, Shadow, sleeping soundly on the floor next to me, I realized a had a bit of a headache so I looked away from the page for a moment. When I looked up, I caught sight of Shadow's back paw twitching just a little bit. As I watched, that one paw's tiny twitch turned turned into all four paws flexing back and forth, their movement rippling through muscles all the way up his legs. My stately, dignified, perfectly behaved 9-year-old black lab was staying young at heart too, by chasing squirrels in his dreams. And I got to see it; man I love my life. Anyhoodle, I will likely read TSOB again many times, but first I am giving everyone else in my family the chance to read it, so maybe their souls can feel as happy as mine does as we wait and we count days until we get to gleefully place ourselves where baseball, and the simple but deep joys that come with the game if you let them, are.
The Greatest Hot Take Ever - I could have hot takes on the fact that the Royals swept the Angels starting on Good Friday and ending on Easter, is that a consequence? I mean the Royals ...
4 days ago