Warehouse Windows

Brothers and Grass

Writing the character of the Player in my story was the most difficult part of this. Obviously, I never played professionally and only actually spent one season on a Little League team. So, I had to dig a little deeper to imagine what went on in a player’s head. I had a little bit to base it on, being around a clubhouse and watching players act and interact with each other, but I was mostly shooting in the dark. However, at the end of the day, baseball players are still human with emotions that, like everyone else, have jobs to do. So I focused on that aspect and kind of hoped I didn’t get the baseball player parts that wrong.

I also had a very specific player as a model for this character. It was someone I encountered late in their career and, for some reason, spent a lot of time thinking about him and what must drive him. Now, my Player’s story has really nothing to do with this guy, but when I played out these scenes in my head, I had a very clear image of this real-life player acting them out for me.

I think it was for my 8th-grade graduation that my brother Kyle and my brother-in-law Bo bought me my first baseball mitt. I loved that glove and it didn’t take long for it to get broken in. Kyle and I would spend so much time in front of our house, in the road, tossing the ball back and forth. Sometimes we liked to play a game to see how loud we could get the other person’s glove to pop (aka as hurting their hand), sometimes we would throw popups to each other. Sometimes it was just grounders. However, it felt like hours and hours that we did that and I enjoyed every second of it.

While Kyle and I spent a lot of our earlier childhood exploring the woods behind our house, looking for frogs and salamanders and floating GI Joe figures down the creek, by the time we were teenagers, the woods seemed like a distant memory, even if we did wander down there occasionally. Throwing the baseball around with him, I felt, kept us close long after the woods swallowed up our footprints.

As much as I think of my friends when it comes to baseball, I think about those catches with Kyle. I think the relationships between brothers (and siblings in general) are important and have an obviously huge impact in shaping lives. So that connection, between brothers can be so important.

Grass, obviously, is a big theme in this book. Like with the character in this chapter, there is something so magical about coming out of a dark concourse, through a narrow tunnel, and having been met by the field of grass. It gets me every time, whether it is baseball or football. It is one of the most beautiful scenes and it always takes my breath away.

My first game was in 1987. Bo got tickets through work and took me. They were in the Mezzanine level of Shea Stadium. I want to say it was section 8, but the internet has shown me that was slightly down the third-base side while I remember being on the first base side. Regardless, I was so taken back by the first view of the field as we walked through the tunnel. I am sure I stopped dead in my tracks and probably pissed someone off behind me. It was like emerging from a cave and into the Garden of Eden. It was exciting and emotional and magical all at the same time. There is just something about that vast expanse of green that strikes a romantic chord in me.

And beyond just that view of the field coming out of a stadium tunnel, there is just something about a grass field I can’t put my finger on. When I was younger, hanging out with my friends, we would talk about how we wished we had a big lawn to play football or baseball on. When I coached my kids in tee-ball, where we didn’t have a diamond, it just felt great to be standing in the grass on a warm summer day. Even now, I love the look at my freshly mowed lawn. And I wish I understood that more … maybe it is the possibilities of what can be done. Maybe that green is a reminder of life and nature in areas where it may otherwise be difficult to find. Maybe it is a reminder of summer. Who knows, but it is just something wonderful about it.