Aware of my deep and deeply unhealthy hatred of winter for such a Midwestern girl, a friend sent me the following slightly altered lyrics:

When the moon hits your eye 

And it’s 4:45 

That’s November

This had two effects, one more useful than the other: I’d realized a deep and universal truth about baseball, and also I had “That’s Amore” in my head for the next several weeks. (And now you do, too. I’m a sharer!)

Baseball is a joyful consequence of the light; it is of summer, by summer, even before artificial lights blazed over green fields. By its outdoor and simplistic nature, baseball developed in a world of long grass and short bursts of night. It takes a while to arrive at the appropriate natural lighting for the fireworks show on the Fourth of July; it is meant to. Why rush the toasted marshmallows? Who wants to get out of the pool before 9 in the evening, anyway? Slow down and slap at the mosquitoes. There’s one on and two outs.

Sometimes we tamper in God’s domain, and God tends to push back. It was a singularly odd turn when baseball began to leak over into November, a month decidedly within the realm of football. Snow flurries should not become one with baselines. You’ll notice the World Series has been pretty universally terrible since it left its natural habitat of October.

We’re at fault here. We’re unnaturally siphoning one season into the next when we try this. There’s a reason why this lyric mentions “November” instead of “December,” even though the nights are even shorter on this side of Eastern Standard Time– December has its compensations. December brings reminders and promises of spring, brightly wrapped beneath the evergreen tree. November brings wind chill.

The autumn leaves lasted longer than usual this year thanks to a slowly fading summer, for which I am grateful, but the price was an even more startling shift to the darkness than usual. (There’s always, always a price.) Most people adjust to the shorter days by the time Thanksgiving has come and gone. I’m still staring out the window while just beginning dinner preparations: Why is it dark? Why is it so dark, for so long? Well, there’s no baseball, child. ‘Tis fitting.

So although we’re now a civilization of those bright stadium lights and retractable domes and heating systems that can combat the worst of the Arctic, I am grateful that baseball has remained the business of 70 degree days. One sport was not made for every season. Some are anchored to the very turning of the Earth.


9 Responses

  1. Michael

    Love reading your work Mary Beth!!!

  2. LDS

    Dino burrows deep. Baseball in November is sacrilegious. And with the owners’ greed, readily on display during the lockout, I’ll not be overly surprised to see the last of the World Series games being played on Thanksgiving.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      “Dino burrows deep” is an incredible book titles.

  3. Scott C

    Thanks a lot for putting that tune in my head! (sarcasm, sarcasm) now it will be in my head. I need to go put some Christmas Carols on. I totally agree about baseball ending in October. Part of that is the owners fault, that is true, their greed is well documented. But part of it is the Players Union demanding so many days off during the season and the elimination of scheduled double headers. It is my desire that they go back to a 154 game season, finish it by mid September and then have playoff. The good news for those of us who hate darkness December 21 is coming next week and the days will start getting longer. Now if only the owners and players can hammer out a CBA.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      It feels like SUCH a long time between the time change and the solstice. Nobody consults me on this crap.

  4. Mark Moore

    Well done again, MBE!! You could add it’s far more challenging to wear the Urban Tactical Kilt in November as well 🙂

    As I watched a beautiful horizon today (just a little after 5 PM here in Raleigh) and saw the moon rising and Venus come into view, it reminded me we’re almost to the turning point. Just one more week and Del Sol starts the journey back out way again. The question is – “Will we get baseball in 2022? If so, how much delay?”

    Perhaps one day we’ll abolish that wretched daylight savings time. I know the farmer behind me doesn’t use it. Come harvest time, he’ll run his machines all night if that’s what is required.

    Simpler days … and 70-degree outdoor baseball games! That’s what the doctor should order.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      It always comes back to whether or not this is a situation for the Tactical Kilt.

      (HINT: It is.)