“People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.” ~ Rogers Hornsby (legendary 2nd baseman from 1915-1937, .358 career batting average)
There’s a moment that comes, long about February, when the need for the spring becomes more than just a gentle, sweet longing. It becomes much more urgent, almost primal. As though you’ve gotten so chilled to the bone … there’s no telling if you’ll ever thaw out.
It’s in that moment of urgency that you know that finally – finally! – you can begin to count.
Five, four, three, two …
Not the days ’til spring.
The days ’til Spring Training.
For those whose calendars failed to remind them, pitchers and catchers report in Florida and in Arizona on Monday.
And, while February 11 isn’t spring. It’s close enough.
Because baseball is there to remind you that spring will come, despite the cold and the snow and the dark.
Here in Virginia, it’s still winter. Sure, there’s no snow on the ground (sorry, New England) and today was almost pleasant (apologies, North Dakota). (And by pleasant, I mean I bundled up snuggly in a wool sweater, extra long scarf, and fully buttoned winter coat, but the kid playing outside at the grocery store was in shorts and a tee shirt.)
But, it’s still winter.
Until, you walk into a room filled with baseball.
And, the sun is shining through the windows at just the right angle, and you swear it’s the bone-warming sunshine that comes in May. And, the room is brighter and more golden than any room you’ve been in for months. And, you look all around and you’re surrounded by spring … and summer and baseball.
Even here, in Orange, Virginia, where the Orioles Spring Training camp is – by Mapquest’s calculations – 14 hours and 40 minutes away, and the first day of spring is farther still.
Even here, like even everywhere, baseball brings the promise of new life and the hopes of spring.
This week, the Arts Center in Orange, in downtown Orange, Virginia, opened a warm and sweet multimedia exhibit called Spring Training. All things baseball, by a talented group of local artists.
Right here, in my little town. Baseball.
If that don’t beat all.
And, it made my heart jump alittle. And I felt the promise of springtime seep through the lining of my coat, through the scarf and wool sweater. Right into my bones.
Finally. Warm again.
“That’s the true harbinger of spring, not crocuses or swallows returning to Capistrano, but the sound of a bat on a ball.” ~ Bill Veeck (20th-century baseball owner & innovator)
For some, baseball is history …
For some baseball is youth …
“Don’t tell me about the world. Not today. It’s springtime and they’re knocking baseball around fields where the grass is damp and green in the morning and the kids are trying to hit the curve ball.” ~ Pete Hamill, journalist & author
For some, baseball is memory …
For some, baseball is a game …
For some, baseball is religion …
For some, baseball is life …
“Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good, too.” ~ occasionally attributed to Yogi Berra (Legendary Yankee, #8) … and sometimes to an 8-year-old kid. But, hey, let’s give this one to Yogi.
You should wander your way to Orange and check out the Arts Center. (Lots of cool other things besides baseball, too. Yes, there are other things besides baseball. A few things anyway.)
On Exhibit at the ARTS CENTER in ORANGE
129 East Main Street, Orange Virginia
February 7 thru March 30, 2013
Monday thru Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
No charge, although donations are gratefully accepted
All images are the copyright of the artists. Images used with the kind permission of The Arts Center in Orange. A special thank you to Laura Thompson, Arts Center Executive Director.