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
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.