Throwing Out the First Ball

I had the joy of throwing out the first ball
at a Nashville Sounds game. It was a great evening.

Throwing out the first ball tonight at the Nashville Sounds vs. New Orleans Zephyrs game was great fun. The sounds are the triple AAA affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. I shared the first ball toss with several others, youngsters from kid’s ball leagues and a veteran who had just returned from Iraq.
Watching the kids watching the players down on the field before the game was a treat in itself. Their eyes were fixed on the Sounds players and they were transfixed on the activity around the dugouts. It was good to see this kind of interest and intensity. It brought back memories of my youth when baseball was, quite literally, the center of my life.

It was one activity in which I excelled, and so it took on much larger meaning to me. Besides, Mickey Mantle was a small-town Oklahoma boy made good. He made it possible for hundreds of us from similar circumstances to have hope. Hope in poor, small Oklahoma towns in those days was a great gift.

Whether the kids in Nashville share that same hopeful spirit, or whether they even have the need for a transcendent hopefulness, I don’t know. But for a time tonight, I re-connected with what baseball means to me, and it was a pleasant journey back to red earth, green grass and wonderful hope.

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