Legends On Deck

Fragility & Baseballs Bedazzled Duality of Heart

Constant aches and pains malign players going from series to series, runway to runway, check-in to check-out to check-in; traveling with the only other people who truly understand their plight, their team.

 

Fragility throughout the daily fragrance of all the baseball idioms bubbling to the surface.

At night, when heads hit pillows after mundane meetings, grueling games, and willed workouts they feel cemented into endless loops of improvement in a performance based human spectacle. Off-season life, spring training, call up’s and down’s, waiver claims, trades, “will anyone remember my name?” Every ride leaving behind a memory of dust in the wind with each day still passing. Their very existence melodically tunes; twisting to unlock endless combinations click-by-click into a password of lasting.

Sometimes the person gets left behind. Behind the magnificent feats, and grit and grind, they get even more maligned. Then, a jolt reminds us of exactly how much effort goes into making  a game look effortless. It restores our ability to relate to people who can do things that we never could, or cannot anymore. Human compassion leveling off like a faucet we never fully expected to be on. Dripping, slowly filling a tub of our expectations, leaving those expectations for an instant overflowing into dehumanized entertainment. Eyelids flickering confused as the instant passes and we realize that in that hoarded moment, we were sheep, not the shepherd’s we all hope to be. That is human nature, it comes right before grief and processing.

Soldiers listening to the 1944 World Series WWII.

Baseball has always been America’s past time. Ingrained in the fabric of hot dogs, peanuts and crackerjack’s, and players who became soldier’s during other times when our human priorities unexpectedly changed. Stan Musial, Joe DiMaggio, and Ted Williams left their bats in the on deck circle as only three of over 500 professional baseball players who have also served. Yogi Berrea volunteered to drive a rocket boat into Normandy Beach as cover for the other arriving American boats. Warren Spahn fought in the Battle of the Bulge after his Major League debut in 1942. Former Minor League Pitcher, Stanford Wolfson, flew 10 bombing missions over Nazi Germany, until on his last he was forced to eject do to plane damage over hostile ground. Wolfson was executed when the Nazi’s realized he was Jewish.

War puts everyone who walks into its peril on the same level of being a person. Despite rank, you share inherit fear, complete risk, and potential to losing everything with the man or woman next to you. People are people no matter the fame, money, or finely sewn jersey with whatever local team name. Persons in partnership to surpass; twisting to unlock endless combinations click-by-click into a password that lasts…

Life’s fragility and baseballs bedazzled duality of heart.

Los Angeles Angels Starter Tyler Skaggs died this week after being found unresponsive in his hotel room on a team trip in Texas. Promising Kansas City ace Yordano Ventura died in 2017 in a car crash. Perennial Cy Young contender Jose Fernandez died in 2017 in some type of boating accident. Another former Angel, Tommy Hansen died from organ failure in 2015. Cardinals promising outfielder Oscar Taveras also died in a car crash in 2014. In 2011, 24 year old Seattle Mariner Greg Halman was actually stabbed and murdered. Nick Adenhart had a great start to the season in 2009 for the Angels, only the fourth appearance of his career, then was killed by a drunk driver with two other people a few hours later.

Rallying from down a few runs in late innings seems resilient in baseball life. A walk, a hit, now your in business as the pitcher is reeling and the opposing manager looks nervous. Another hit and boom, the bullpen is up, it’s now or never. For the players listed above, and so many more over baseballs long history, it’s never. Analogs of time have stopped recording their feats. Their families and friends left with nostalgia for an instant at place in time they yearn to go again. Rallies become a show of solidarity. Beyond right now, beyond the entertainment, beyond life’s daily crawl, and certainly far beyond the game of baseball.

Grief is like wearing a very tight fitting pair of shoes that you cannot take off. Just as you can think of nothing else but your hurting feet because of these shoes, so also in your grief you can think of nothing else but your loss. You cannot get away from it. It is your main focus of attention. And your whole body begins to hurt too. Your face will also reflect the pain you are feeling. Grieving is a whole body experience. (griefwatch.com/grief-is-like)

Grief is experienced differently. The road map to deal with any loss is a puzzle missing pieces. Sudden and tragic losses are even more deflating. Questions overwhelm answers in a fleeting desperate plea of wanting what could have been had it not occurred. Potential squashed in an unfair instant. Searching for light in a darkness where the pull chain breaks off every time you yank. Impossible to describe, too empty to fill, and still too paralyzing to react or compensate for.

Players after learning Tyler Skaggs was gone.

So we move forward. We do the things we thing that person would have wanted, or at least keep up with what we can until we feel up to doing more. Time adds perspective in the acceptance of what literally is reality now, adjusted from what it was before. The Angels have felt this many times as an organization. Baseball even more times as a sport. People rally to support each other through tear filled press conferences, and sentiment laden returns to the field. Nostalgia, there’s that word again. Longing for something, wishful and maybe vein, affection based like deja vu being forced on the brain. But, this isn’t about the mind, it’s about the spirit. Not the spirit as in the soul of those who aren’t psychically represented from here on- the spirit of strength from those left to experience the eternal bond. Heartfelt support within a community of players…

Of people.

Baseball can be a tool to lift spirits. To refocus on a short period of time where the spectacle becomes coping with the unthinkable. A full circle of taking for granted what, for those who love it, can be a healing experience with the community they embrace… and the people. So go to the ballpark. Put down your favorite memorialized memento and let nostalgia pull you back to the mound. Back to the game that brought us all together whether we were lost or found. Sometimes to move forward people have to restart. Through accepting life’s fragility, and just maybe, baseball’s bedazzled duality of hope, and of heart.

Sport&Style

Benny Bam

Writer | Producer | Host at BAM Studio
Benny Bam is a Writer + Producer of many mediums in addition to being the founder of Angels Baseball Addicts. Known best as host of sports talk show Halo💥Heat.

His Authorship portfolio includes HighonPoems.com, HaloHangout.com, Secret Life of Poets, and Unscripted Script. "BAM" is a content creator and analyst moonlighting as a virtual jack of all trades in the sports & creative writing landscapes.
Benny Bam
Sport&Style
%d bloggers like this: