I fell in love with baseball when I was seven years old, watching the Mets. Which means I fell in love with the Mets. And the main reason for both was that I was already in love with my dad, who had inherited a love for baseball from my grandfather and passed it on to my younger brothers and me as if it were the world’s most coveted legacy. Which, of course, it was — as I now tell my youngest son, age seven.
On green grass in the bright sunshine of glorious summer Sundays, we’d watch the games unfold. The outcome was never really in doubt: In those days (the mid-1960s), the Mets were awful — though awful with charm. (As I was to learn in the ensuing 40-plus years, there are all kinds of awful.) But here was the true allure of baseball: It’s not about the outcome but the journey. That part never changes, whether the Mets lose 100 games (as they’ve often done) or win it all (as they’ve done only twice). In each game, there is mystery: something even the sharpest, most experienced eye may never have seen before, and something that a culture infatuated with numbers and records and stats may not record in its box scores. There is no clock: It’s just ability against ability. It’s a team game in which individual talent matters as in no other. The season is a marathon in which the highs and lows are always one pitch away from turning around, and only the strong survive — at least until next year, because there’s always next year. There’s always spring.
For more from this opening-day weekend, see NRO’s baseball symposium. There are Angels and Rangers and Braves and teams in between, above, and below. And, of course, the Yankees. Thanks to John Miller for doing the leg and diamond work. — KJL