Your baseball is not my baseball.
This much is obvious, vis-à-vis us operating on separate planes of existence and all that. What’s less so is how a sport with mostly immutable rules and general structure – one that has been far more altered by substances than lawmaking over the last century – lends itself so little to the empirical. A Phillies fan that breathed the Mike Schmidt era, for instance, is versed in an entirely different dialect of baseball than the Twins fan who subsisted through 2014, in aesthetics as much as anguish. A nouveau-riche Giants observer and a steadfast Royals supporter saw their teams play on the same field at the same time in last year’s World Series, but the game they saw – the rhythms and beats, and the narrative behind it all – could be completely different. And this is to say nothing of the bleacher bums who gorge on Double-A ball in Biloxi, or the dogged Gamecock backers in Columbia, South Carolina, or the intrepid souls who show up whenever the Fort Worth Cats take the field.
They all ring around a similarly sodden infield to watch the action dictated by players wearing and wielding what is, for all intents and purposes, identical sets of paraphernalia. Collectively, it’s been done millions of times over, an endless carousel meandering along three outs at a time. The view seldom changes.
What always have are the vantage points. It is a beautiful, confusing thing to argue that a sport with such monochromatic stylings is consumed so kaleidoscopically but baseball, like any other game, is open to interpretation, even if the final score is not. It’s all performance, from the honking of peanut vendors patrolling the aisle ways to bespectacled diehards keeping score in sun-stained caps with gnawed-off pencil stubs to the toe-tap of the number six hitter working to snap a four-afternoon slump at the plate to the journeyman sinkerballer using the mound as a spittoon to the sadsack manager lurching around the dugout. Yet strip away the trimmings and performances are nothing more than stories: No two are alike.
This brings us to our new series, which we’re calling Every Game a Story, either in homage to or relatively naked theft of a YouTube series we’re rather fond of. The conceit is simple enough: Write about the most memorable baseball game you ever attended. The particulars of what makes it that way will vary, naturally. It might be the very best or the absolute worst; it could be the site of a pleasant afternoon among good company or perhaps you were accosted by a particularly cranky usher – hopefully, for your sake, those two things didn’t overlap, although that just might work rather ideally for ours. Whatever the case, you have peered onto the same diamonds that we have, only to witness different things. You have stories.
To that end, you should email us at email@example.com so we can help you tell them. We have new submission guidelines, too, and you should read those as well. Bottom line, get in touch. We want to make your baseball our baseball.