People who know me know that I really like baseball. I love the Detroit Tigers. Love. Those who know me really well know that I have a thing for the Boston Red Sox pitcher, Rick Porcello. (He used to play in Detroit; he pitched a complete game shut-out on my 26th birthday-when I was there.)Now, I’ll freely admit that at least part of this has to do with the facts that he’s Italian-American (like me!) and that his full name, Frederick, is the name of one of my favorite Jane Austen characters. (Also, he has great mileage to be called Froe-drick!) So it was no surprise that I managed to convince one of my closest friends to go see the Red Sox play the Tigers at Comerica Park on the night when Porcello was pitching. (We were celebrating my new job!)
Another incentive for me (besides my darling Tigers, seats that allowed me to see J.D. Martinez up close, and Pretty Ricky) was the opportunity to see David Ortiz. I’d never seen him in-person before, and he’s David Cussing Ortiz. I had this weird feeling that I was going to get to see him hit a home run. He did. In the first inning. Sure it contributed to my Tigers losing the game (which was supposedly my fault for finding Pretty Ricky attractive-according to my friend’s husband), but it was David Cussing Ortiz hitting a home run. Man alive, it was cool to see. I was now able to say not just that I’d seen Ortiz but that I’d seen him hit a home run to right field.
It was a magical moment. And for a cynical woman who doesn’t believe in magic or fate, that’s a big thing for me to say. I don’t look at the world through rose-colored glasses, but when I’m at Comerica Park, I believe that magic can happen. It’s a loophole in the time-space continuum where anything can happen. I’ve seen the Tigers come back from crazy deficits there; anything can happen there.
I say that I don’t believe in magic, but there are two places where I have to make an exception to that rule. One is baseball fields, and the other is bookstores. Both of these places allow me to suspend my belief in reality and to believe that anything can happen. Bookstores contain books that can allow readers to travel anywhere in time or space. Books allow you to explore other places and other times. Baseball fields offer limitless potential (for joy or disappointment) to fans and players alike.
Books and baseball are two of my favorite things in the world. I have strong feelings about both of them. I believe that their homes are sacred spaces. They are where people can escape their lives and find freedom from stress, hope in bad situations, and joy in the little things. Justin Verlander pitching a 96 mph fastball may not cure cancer, but it does bring joy into his audience’s hearts for a time. Reading a really good book may not bring world peace, but it can bring peace to a troubled soul or rest after a difficult day.
That’s magic in my book. The ability to bring joy or hope or rest to a person is an amazing gift, and it take a kind of magic to do that. For me, that magic is found on the baseball diamond and in bookstores. Chase the magic.