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"We're all always trying to make it back home."

Today was the opening day of major league baseball season, New Year's Day, the end of the long fallow season of no broadcast sports, unless one considers football, hockey, basketball, or soccer sports. I do not. Baseball qualifies as a sport because it's not what it appears to be, but an extended metaphor. Those other pastimes might pretend to be sports, but they lack the fundamentally metaphorical foundation of baseball. Home base pretty much says it all. Each game seems a hero's journey seeking home. Each play, a part of a building story, sometimes destined to become legend. Each player, a potential savior.

I don't know how many people understand this metaphorical aspect of baseball.
Some complain about the so-called slowness of the game. Others grumble about umpire calls. Even I've been known to comment on inept managers, like the gNat's Davey Martinez. Properly framed, though, none of this surface tension matters. Who wins? Who loses? I mostly don't care. How they play the game, now that's something worth focusing upon, for the play well represents life. The lucky plink. The masterful throw. Most of all, the insistent urge to make it to home.

The statistics fail to impress me, and baseball keeps records on everything. The AM radio broadcast best imparts the real action of a game, video providing altogether too much distraction. Today, I tuned in to the radio broadcast and also tuned into the video. The radio ran about a pitch and a half ahead of the video, so I could perk up and watch when I knew something potentially interesting was going to happen. The odd homer. The clever field play. These serve as palate cleansers only. The real game can be found in the rhythm of play and the incessant drive to make it back home.

I'm of the opinion that life is metaphorical, never what it appears to be on the surface. Sure, I have to pay attention to stuff like traffic, but traffic serves as a more meaningful metaphor that the careening cars might suggest. The flow and pattern of movement inform most. How drivers relate to each other seems more interesting than any individual driver's curious behavior. The news in the newspaper is interesting all by itself, but much more useful when considered along with where it's placed and how the stories are framed. I understand that some people interpret the Bible literally, too. So much the worse for them. For me, literal interpretation demands a belief in literal exposition, a fanciful notion I can't seem to swallow.

The game is a game but only meaningful, for me, when considered as metaphor. I doubt that the owners understand this distinction. They work hard to focus my attention upon the meaningless and the superficial. The ritual of major league play should chase me off, with all its curious chauvinism and patriotism. It's basically disgusting to see a military squad march the flag into a subsidized stadium. The owners understand that singing God Bless America encourages citizens to funnel their public school dollars into building private stadiums. If it weren't for the metaphor at play, I'd say, "Screw you," and avoid opening day, but we're all always trying to make it back home.

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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