As we enter winter’s most dreadful hour, the days are frigid and the nights are black. There are less signs of life outside than I’m comfortable with as I sit here sipping my predawn coffee. Looking out my kitchen window at the endless white canvas laid out before me, I can’t help but think of my favorite baseball movie. My favorite sports movie. Field of Dreams flashes in my mind. The scene where Kevin Costner is peering through his living room window as a holiday party passes him by in the background. He’s looking out at his snow-covered diamond, certain he’s done the right thing but fighting off the doubt of others with every ounce of self-assurance he can muster. Baseball isn’t played in the snow and Costner knows he’ll have to wait for winter’s end before spring can once again rekindle that inextinguishable flame that is, ultimately, his love of the game of baseball.
That is where I sit this morning. I’m waiting out winter along with thousands of baseball fans around the country. The lights haven’t shown bright above baseball fields nationwide for months. As I drove by Coors Field the other day the lights had snow piled atop them and the stadium seats along with the empty diamond no doubt looked the same. I’m just a White Sox fan living in Denver but Coors Field is itself a field of dreams. Fans, young and old, whisk these cold winter mornings away with dreams of going to a ballgame in mid-July. Ballplayers are hard at work on days like this, doing all they can to realize their dream of making it to the big leagues. The dreams of both fan and player are housed quietly this
winter in baseball stadiums throughout the country. Those fields of dreams will soon be alive with fathers and sons, husbands and wives, friends and foes who all share a common love for the game.
The sky is still black as the wind rocks the tree tops outside. I close my eyes for a moment to dream of the sights and sounds that will soon fill my summer days. Slowly breathing through my nose I smell the freshly cut grass of the outfield. I can see the chalk being laid down the baselines. If I listen close I can hear the metal cleats scratching the concrete as the players shuffle around the dugouts. Baseballs snap against the palms of leather mitts as players loosen their arms in organized pairs. I taste the hot dogs and sunflower seeds and the crisp refreshing feel of a cold beer on a hot summer day. My eyes fly open and the dream is over quickly as a gust of wind raps on the window before me.
Fear not my baseball brethren, we’re almost there. Spring Training has begun and before you know it, some noodle-armed celebrity will be throwing out a ceremonial first pitch during opening day at a stadium near you. Until then, grab a good baseball flick, freshen up on all the off-season dealings and play some broomstick pepper in the garage with the boys. Our winter dreams will soon become reality. As an old tee-shirt I had as a kid said: Baseball is not a past time. Picnics are a past time!