They Will Come
TODAY IS MONDAY, but it is more than Monday. Yesterday was Easter, but it was more than Easter.
Today is the first full day of Baseball Season. Yesterday was the celebration of the traditional Opening Day of the season. The sun is shining and I can smell horsehide and pine tar in the air.
For those of us who love The Game today is Christmas morning, the Fourth of July, and the Last Day of School combined. We have longed to hear the roar of the Crowd, the crack of the bat and the cry of the Hot Dog Vendor – all music to our ears. Oh, the First Day of Baseball has arrived!
The Art and the Science of The Game are presented once again. The skill that it takes to hit a round ball with a round bat – and to hit it squarely brings The Crowd to its feet. The ballet of the infielders turning a double play with the fluid grace of Nureyev and Fred Astaire can make The Fans go silent with awe.
Baseball is more than just a child’s game played by grownups. It is a thread from the past into the future – My past and my future – your past and your future.
It cannot be stated any better than the words spoken by James Earl Jones’ character, Terence Mann, in the film “Field of Dreams.”
Mann: Ray, people will come, Ray. They’ll come to Iowa for reasons they can’t even fathom. They’ll turn up your driveway, not knowing for sure why they’re doing it. They’ll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past. “Of course, we won’t mind if you have a look around,” you’ll say. “It’s only twenty dollars per person.” They’ll pass over the money without even thinking about it; for it is money they have and peace they lack.
And they’ll walk out to the bleachers, and sit in shirt-sleeves on a perfect afternoon. They’ll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they’ll watch the game, and it’ll be as if they’d dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they’ll have to brush them away from their faces.
People will come, Ray.
The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and it could be again. Ohhhhhhhh, people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come.”
Dawn and I have been to “The Field of Dreams.” It still exists in Dyersville, Iowa. You can go there and you can play on that diamond, sit on those bleachers, and come out of that corn. I urge you to do it.
And when you do go there you will be struck by its simplicity and by its grandeur. It is a patch of grass where people speak in whispers as if they were in a cathedral.