The Family (Or most of them)

The Family (Or most of them)
The Family

May 4, 2009

Boys of Summer


We know it. But hell, it takes winter a longer time to lose its grip up here.

When it finally does, or so we think, it's baseball season, with football just around the corner.

And on Monday, I finally got a chance to experience it again, under sunny skies and almost shorts sort of weather.

And this is what it felt like.

You can joke all you want about all the Americans above coming up here to play baseball. It's true, they're just not good enough to play in the Majors or AAA or, most of them, even AA.

But like anybody else, they want to be stars.

And in independent baseball, there are few better places to play than here in all of North America. This team gets 7,000 people a game in a beautiful park.

They love playing here, these guys, because they can feel that American dream and be a part of it, even at a lower level than the A-Rods and their ilk.

In their world, I have to believe, it's all relative.

If they can't win a World Series, or a AAA or AA or even an A calibre title, maybe they can win an Independent League championship in the middle of Canada.

They can hit .350 with 20 homers or they can throw up a 1.95 ERA with 10 wins and still feel like world-beaters.

These kinds of things are the hope at any level of sport -- if that's the best you can do, then you want to make the best of what you can do.

And on what was finally a decent spring-time day under sunny skies and about 19-C (close to 70-F) temps on Monday, I, too, was moved by this weather of warmth and hope, just sitting and absorbing the rays.

And here's what I saw. And revelled in.

That guy on the left, the picture above? He's a catcher.

He almost died last season when the gigantic guy behind him, who's 6-4 and 298 pounds and who was playing for Joliet, Ill., at the time, accidentally hit him in the head with his bat.

The catcher suffered a fractured skull and had bleeding on the brain.

But he recovered, came back last season and now he's this team's No. 1 catcher. And the guy who did this to him is now his teammate.

And as fate would have it they're both playing independent league baseball with the same team in the middle of barren Canada in a place that almost certainly, they had never heard of until they ended up in this league.

Sports is a totally weird, wonderful thing.

To say these guys want to be here is almost certainly not true. They'd rather be Yankees or Braves or Astros or Dodgers or Twins, earning millions of dollars each year.

Instead, they're Goldeyes.

But if you talk to any of them, their responses would be that this is where they WANT to be. There's a certain dose of reality in that to go along with the politically correct answer.

The point is, they're here because this is the best place they thought they could be.

Me, this is the only place I could be. So there's some sort of symbiotic thing going on there.

I'm too dumb to say anything more. Except that man, what a feeling to be out in the sun's warmth, watching Boys of Summer.