Baseball season is upon us here in the Deep South. To those of us who grew up around dusty fields listening to baseball on a transistor radio, and playing a pickup game at the school yard down the road, the baseball season is magical.
I grew up playing baseball. As a youngster I played league ball, either Dixie Boys or Little League, depending on how I felt at sign-up time, or who the coaches were in either league. My children played baseball. I was even in an old-farts slow-pitch league for awhile.
I have a baseball signed by W.P. Kinsella.
The local high school team has a game today, and I think I might get over to the park and watch the game. Junior Varsity at 4:00, Varsity at 6:00. They play at a place called Bringhurst Field, a quirky old park with wooden bleachers. It adjoins the city zoo, and occasionally foul balls land in the lion pen, much to the delight of the crowd. The lions set up a ruckus when a foul ball lands in their turf.
This year, the Alexandria Aces is playing in the United Baseball League. I'm sure I'll spend a few evenings at Bringhurst this summer.
The one gripe I have with modern baseball is that they use aluminum bats in the high school leagues. Somehow, baseball has lost something with the ping of the bat. A good outfielder can hear the crack of the bat and know how far the ball would travel. The sound helped him set himself up to make the play. There is nothing in the world that sounds like a home run. I grew up with Louisville Sluggers, bats made of fine ash or maple.
The ping of an aluminum bat isn't something to dream about.