In A League Of Their Own

River Ridge, Louisiana pitcher Egan Prather (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

 

It took all summer – all year, actually – but it looks like we finally found a subject we could all agree on, a common cause we could all support, a result we could all cheer.

The truth, unabridged. A fact, no alternatives.

Online and IRL, we all stood together. From the socialists to the fascists in our midst, the trolls, libtards and MAGAs alike, for one blessed moment we all turned away from Fox News, MSNBC and CNN, our Twitter feeds and Facebook accounts, our laptops and palm devices – turned away from all the fake, failing and photoshopped sources of our daily diet of news and information – and we came together.

We, the residents of Whoville, held the Grinch at bay for one shining moment, gathered in the town square, held fast onto each others hands and hearts, professed unconditional love for our fellow man, and woman – and, hell, even those still undecided – and we cried out together, as one, in a unified voice:

Play Ball!

It took a bunch of skinny kids in baggy trousers with braces and ears sticking out of their hats like tea saucers, playing baseball with a sense of joy that seemed almost unnatural, but we found a way to share the love. On a field of dreams called the Little League World Series.

It took a team of 12 and 13-year-old boys to bring us to our collective senses. To stanch our prejudices. To shut us all the hell up.

If only for two hours. But damn, didn’t it feel good?

We were sometimes called Team Louisiana, sometimes River Ridge (the home base of the team) but, in the official tournament program, we went by the cryptic name of Eastbank – which many international viewers might easily have mistaken as a region of tense international conflict and strife, car bombs, mortar fire and gas masks.

But which is mostly just playgrounds, shopping malls, seafood restaurants, dive bars, lawn mowers, car pools, fast food, auto parts and barber shops – the grit and gristle of Heartland America.

But seriously, guys: Next year can we go with something like the Eagles or Warriors or something like that?

Regardless of quixotic nomenclature, we shut-out the tiny but baseball-strong Caribbean island of Curacao – and we didn’t even have to buy it first. The uniforms hung loose and saggy from our scrawny, scrappy kids while the players from Curacao looked as if they carry shaving kits in their equipment bags.

Several commenters took umbrage when I described our guys as “dorky” in a Facebook post over the weekend, challenging me to justify such a pejorative term for these little heroes. Too which I responded: Show me a 12-year old boy, and I will show you a dork. ‘Nuff said.

It was indeed a David vs. Goliath moment and we didn’t just win the game – we smoked ’em – 8-0. And it appears to be a victory that truly bound us all together, as confirmed by that most sacred and incontestable of American measurements: The TV ratings. ESPN reported that the New Orleans area scored the highest market share in the country.

But it was not just our victory to savor. The top five viewing markets were rounded out by Buffalo, Greenville, S.C., West Palm Beach and Cincinnati.

Buffalo and West Palm Beach! Who says we all can’t just get along?

A lesson from the children, once again. The boys of summer. Or, as another commenter posted on my thread in support: The Dorks of Summer.

Disney Channel TV movie, anyone?

It has a beautiful ring to it. A ring of a time long ago and far away. A time of innocence and lightening bugs and barking dogs and cannonballs and road trips and sleepovers and tongues gone red and blue and green from too many snowballs.

When summer was once, indeed, endless.

Bless you boys.

Now, sorry to break it to you but….get back to school.

Categories: Me Again

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