The Kids Are Watching

 

There was a different energy in the air at the game last night.

“He goes inside on me one more time, I’m going out there I swear to God.” my usually mild-mannered son muttered to the catcher through gritted teeth, completely out of character.

Then came the next batter. He is tall and from a distance appears athletic and imposing, but on closer inspection is tentative, awkward, shy. He was immediately and unintentionally plunked by the poorly located pitch of the unskilled craftsman on the mound.

“Charge the mound!!!” the dugout screamed then started a chant “Mann-y! Manny-y! Mann-y!!!” He tucked his head and quietly went to first base, unsure.

Most of us baseball fans understand why Manny Machado chose to retaliate against Yordano Ventura. In fact, many of us begrudgingly celebrate it.

By now we are way, way, way past looking to professional athletes to serve as role models for our young sons. Perhaps it is good for them to see that the best way to confront a bully is to punch him out.

Or…is it?

No Place Like Home – Lets Go Os!

Today is the day that I have been waiting for since last October 14th when they practically had to drag me through the exit gates of Camden Yards at the conclusion of Game 2 of the American League Championship Series. On that day I walked deliberately, carefully stepping over all of the commemorative plaques where long-ago home runs had landed on the flag court. I remember looking up at the cloudy sky, then at the Bromo Seltzer tower that stared down ominously. We knew then that those Kansas City Royals would not let us come back here until now.

It is another cloudy, damp and foggy day here in Baltimore but today’s Home Opener represents a new beginning. The whole spring and summer is laid out before us. Dreams of hot afternoons and evenings tempt us. Everywhere I went today people were clad in black and orange giving a “Go Os” greeting even to complete strangers. Sure, the team played in Tampa the last few nights but this is different. They are here in their city, with their fans, in their ballpark. Home.