This time of year, my thoughts always trend the same direction. I turn on the radio in the Febrarian gloom, headed back from a late-running meeting at church. I’m greeted by the latest and greatest in politics, politics, disasters, the economy, politics and boring stuff. Oh! How I wish! How I wish a turn of the dial would bring me instead to my darling, my baseball. Ah, to be in the fifth inning and relax into the voices of Joe and the has-totally-grown-on-me Dave O’Brien. I needn’t hover, finger over the power button, in case the next story is about some horror my young son will question me about in detail.
Baseball is the most perfect of all radio forms. It’s interesting enough to engage the attention when there’s nothing important happening, but not so interesting you miss your exit (usually). The rhythms and patterns are utterly familiar and evoke the sense of warmth and the slow evenings of summer. It happens often enough that many of the times I wish it was on it is on. (I admit to lusting after satellite radio ONLY for baseball even more often!) There are no horrors lurking in the broadcast, no tragedies hiding under the rain tarp. Some of the most fun times are the worst games, when the broadcasters have completely given up on covering the action in any more than a perfunctory manner and have started riffing.
For all it’s reliable consistency, which is a joy, there’s always the possibility of the unbelievable. Ellsbury stealing home. A pitcher cracks a grand slam in a NL game. The tumult, the “what just happened?”, the impossible coming to pass, the million ways you can say “He’s pitching a no-hitter” without actually SAYING “He’s pitching a no-hitter”.
I can’t wait.
But, the winter passes! The frigid north once again turns its face towards the sun. Truck Day is February 12th!. The names will be different, the faces, the clutch hitters, the streaky ones. I’ll have to sit down sometime in April and figure out who the heck is playing this year. But it comes!