Ahh, spring. The absolute best and most glorious season, in my humble opinion. Full of blooming flowers, warmer temperatures, backyard grills starting up, new mothers proudly showing off their young as they go about their day. And baseball starting up again.
Tonight is the home season opener for local (and minor league baseball) institution, The Durham Bulls®. Yes, this is the same team and city featured in the Kevin Costner/Tim Robbins/Susan Sarandon romantic dramedy "Bull Durham". And while The Bulls now play in the much-improved "DBap", "The Bap" area where several scenes of the movie was shot still exists, but is now greatly underutilized. The game tonight starts at 7:05 pm, and is against Scranton-Wilkesboro. It should be a glorious night for an opener, as today will be in the 80s here and into the 70s and 60s for the game tonight, and everything...and I do mean everything...is in bloom. The boys, and a new baseball season, are back and it's time to celebrate their arrival.
It's been of a trying week around the homestead (nothing specific, but everything in general), and I need some release. God bless the Bulls, though, as they still play the game as it was intended, without all the hubbub that now permeates Major League Baseball® (MLB): with young and flustered players not used to playing on a semi-pro team nervously taking the field, with bored hot dog vendors in the aisles, with children wailing from above you in the covered 'bleed seats', with old men and their wives talking about Florida vacations long past over your shoulder, with an announcer that is inaudible from more than 4 rows from the press box, with moms chastising brothers to share the popcorn with their sisters. All for about $8 if you sit on the lawn, about $15 if you're in the stands. It's a community, still, at a time when we don't have that so much anymore. And it's an intentionally slow game because of that...if nothing else, you focus on the fundamentals of things and take a good look around you while doing so. Tradition still lives, families still enjoy being together, time can be halted a bit...if only for a couple of hours on a springtime night. And you really enjoy being a part of it all.
And in the memory of my beloved father who played it for decades and also loved this game more than Life itself, let's play ball!