Melancholy and the Art of Baseball


I’m a hockey fan. A hardcore, life long, traveled this country to follow my favorite teams, kind of hockey fan. I had a hockey comic strip in my mid twenties; this is always something that gives people who know me a giggle. Not just that I created a comic strip, but that it was devoted to hockey. My Foxglove Hockey Comics Collection is probably one of my most favorite books I ever self published. Why does any of this matter? Because now I’ve added baseball to that hardcore type of fan thing. That doesn’t make people who know me giggle; it makes them scratch their head.

My path to baseball love happened in much the way it does for many ladies: My gent did his best to get me into it. It didn’t take until his father put his two cents into the mix. That is probably where the melancholy comes into play. I was thinking of this tonight as we get invested in a new baseball season. It stung a little deeper as we sat outside after the game was over, enjoying the beautiful spring night. You see, my gent might have tried to get me into the sport, but it was his father Bob who taught me the ins and outs of the game.

My gent moved down to Ohio before I did and got us settled here. I remained back in Michigan prepping for surgery and planning my brief visits down when I had the time before and after that surgery. We were making this move because Bob was dealing with liver cancer. Towards the end of my last visit (before moving down) he was starting to wear down. My gent would take his mother to the store and I’d stay back and hang out with Bob. Those were the moments where he taught me about the art of baseball and all there was to know about the Cincinnati Reds.

When I say art, I really do mean art. Hockey is a fast and aggressive sport that does have its finesse moments, but the rules aren’t that hard to lock down. I was kind of amazed at all the minor details to the rules of baseball and what things factored into statistics. Bob was very good at explaining this to me and giving me the fine details of the individual players and the coach he wasn’t overly fond of. Those were nice moments. I experienced a great many things with my own father, but moments like this were not what he and I were about in my young days. It felt really nice to have that experience with someone I had come to love just like my own dad. Bob was a good egg.

On most nights through spring and summer there is a local game on and if we have nothing going on that game is playing in our house. I enjoy the simple pleasure of sitting next to my gent on the couch and barking at umpires or whooping about our favorite players. In those moments we can forget that Bob is not with us and imagine that he’s just two miles away at his apartment with Rosemary, sitting in his favorite chair watching the game too. Those are moments are invaluable.