Jesse Jarnow

grapefruit observations

At first, the lack of coverage of spring training pissed me off: even with cable (not that I have it) only a few games on television, even fewer on radio, and no Gameday play-by-play on I think I like it, though. The lack of constant information feels like a connection to the old ballgame, and that’s always welcome: getting information in spots from informed beatmen like Adam Rubin and Mike Delcos (in their modern guise as bloggers, of course), and occasionally updated linescores.
Much of spring training feels like that. With all the teams in the Grapefruit League a busride away, it is nothing but a regional baseballing association. (That is, it feels like the way all non-major league baseball still operates.) Plus, the very ritual of Florida to begin with: going some place where there’s warmer weather in the spring, instead of holing up climate-controlled bunker/complexes in their respective hometown.

Baseball respects the seasons, and not in some meatheaded “we’re gonna prove ourselves by playing the m’fucking snow” way, so much as the “I’m gonna figure out how to position ourselves by gently tossing this here clump of dirt into the air and seeing how the breeze is, but if it rains I’m going inside like a sensible human” kinda way.

As my life began to de-blah itself from the winter, I noticed it was the same day exhibition games began. I was reminded of this quote Russ comforted me with in the days after the Mets lost the NLCS, from the late, sage commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti:

It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, you rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then, just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops.

In the spring — or, rather in these weeks before spring — hearts are whole and pure.


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