Recent photos of Great American Ball Park showed the soil of the field stripped bare, a forbidding brown plain of late fall and despair.

It is well.

What’s going in there is a completely new sod carpet, which has been patiently cultivated for years. The grass has been watered, covered, left to the sun’s work, watered again. Mostly, it’s been left alone to be itself and think big major league thoughts.

I abhor winter, even at the first snow, even at Christmas. The jackets, the scraping, the air assault on the face. That I have a Cincinnati and non-Colorado address is attributable to the presence of my family and the fact that the front range has been under a foot of snow since October. The parish I attend while visiting planted eight-foot sticks in front of a three-foot retainer wall to prevent the faithful from plowing into the stones for six months out of the year. Who lives like this on purpose?

But I recognize the need for winter; even in the mountains, the snowpack later becomes the rushing streams which inhibit fire, and the wildflowers can’t hang around forever if they’re going to reappear in the spring.

The sight of parkas at the World Series reminds us that baseball is, was, and ever shall be constructed for summer. Legs sticking to plastic seats are part of the charm. A baseball game called for rain is a disappointment; a baseball game called for snow is an affront to the order of nature.

Much as I enjoyed stringing Christmas lights in shorts when I lived in Florida, the reality was that I was also sweating, and the snowman someone constructed out of sand on the beach by my apartment was 90% cute and 10% upsetting. We need seasons.

We need fresh starts, hibernation, a time to think, a moment to till the soil, to allow the very Earth to rest. Who knows what will grow in the meantime?

17 Responses

  1. SultanofSwaff

    I think I’m getting old. This year is the first time I was completely indifferent to the first snow. Probably time to start the move away retirement countdown clock.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      I was driving in it. Probably didn’t help my mood.

  2. RedNat

    I don’t know Mary Beth, I like Joey Votto’s idea of making the mlb season year round lol

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      Will Joey Votto be providing indoor stadiums for those of us in Northern climes? Then, and only then, am I in.

    • greenmtred

      Snow on the ground here as I write this. More on the way. Life is good. The 2019 season was unbearable. If it lasted all year, hari kari would be a legitmate response.

  3. Scott C

    Yes baseball should be played in summer. I remember those early spring practices when I was playing high school baseball, the stinging in the hands when the bat made contact with the ball. Only the promise of warmer weather coming made it worthwile.
    I am much older now and there are no ifs, ands or buts about it. I simply hate snow. Snow does nothing but make life harder. We lived in Findlay, up in Northwest Ohio for 4 and a half years and there were times we didn’t see grass from Thanksgiving to Easter. Give me the sand snowmen and summer baseball.
    Just like the sod at GABP I am anticipating the playing of MLB on warmer days.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      My attitude about snow changed A LOT when I started having to clean it off cars.

      • Scott C

        That is one issue. Kids love snow because they only play in it.

  4. Richard Fitch

    I see what you did there, Mary Beth.

      • Mark Moore

        Let’s just assume you were awesome as the baseline going forward, ‘kay?

  5. Eric

    During my years in Austin TX, all I had to do to get through the 115-degree days in August was remind myself how much I truly hate the cold.

    In my best Jack Nicholson impression, “I’m using the word ‘hate’ here!”

    Here in Raleigh/Durham, we end up with more snow-free winter days than not. At a certain point, if it’s going to *get* cold enough to snow, then it might as well go on and snow already!

    The photos we’ll see of GABP blanketed in dreamy white powder, just like the images of wall-to-wall dirt, are part of what makes the whole wait worthwhile when our conversations turn to grand marshals and opening-day starters. Snow on the seats doesn’t present an immediate crisis — this isn’t Green Bay, where the community has to show up with shovels to clear the stands before the next game.

    …although if that *were* the case, Mary Beth, I know you’d be the first one at the ball park, shovel in hand.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      Oh that TX humidity is no joke. Only thing keeping me out of Florida.

      I think I remember the Bengals offering payment a few years ago to people who would come shovel. Although this season people would probably try to chuck snow up over the sides of the stadium to prevent play.

    • Mark Moore

      Another near-perfect Fall day here in the Triangle … with things getting a little more dicey tomorrow and onward.

  6. Mark Moore

    Ah the thought of perfect grass … what an image! I can only dream about it for my acre of land (unless I hit a mega lottery and convert it all to perfect sod).

    Baseball has to be on grass … even if it’s indoors on occasion. I can almost get the newer turf for football, but not for baseball. Those beautiful designs and perfectly parallel mow lines … things of beauty.

    Oh, and I did have to mow yesterday (a rushed job to be sure, and mostly cutting the thick growth of wild onions concentrated over the drain field). The closest I seem to get is when I blur my eyes just a bit and look at the winter wheat planted behind me in December and January. It almost looks like a pristine golf course if I use a little imagination …

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      Our lawn consists of so many weeds that Josh The Pilot and I refer to the act of cutting the grass as “mowing the weeds.”