The Home Run – Why Baseball Moves Us!
-Inspired by the Championship World Baseball League Dominican Republic National Team
The pitcher, a long gangly but strong man whose fingers engulf a base ball like a cobra swallowing a birds egg, leans back atop a carefully manicured elevated dirt mound. He guages his opponent, coils and with a whirl pivots forward on one foot and whips his arm forward as he lands on his leading foot. The ball is discharged from his purposeful grip toward the reciever at 95 mph. It becomes an optical white blur ensues as it races forward. The hitter, can only wait. He waits for the perfect moment to launch his wooden attack on the ball in flight. If he is to hit it, it will be mostly learned reflex, unleashed with expert timing coupled with his ability to percieve other clues to the physics: trajectory and movement of the ball as it approaches spinning and arching toward the catchers leather gloved embrace.
Suddenly, with an equal measure of primal brutality and the deft swiftness of an expert batter, he swings his flame hardened and machine honed wooded bat meeting the ball before it can reach stillness in the hands of the receiver. The union of ball and bat emits a loud crack! Like the cracking of thunder in an electrical storm filled sky. The sound of an electrical discharge. Charged electrons seeking rest but finding only perpetual motion, collisions, and changes in energy state. The slap charges the crowd with its electric energy. The sound reverberates off the stadium walls. It’s the type of bullwhip like crack that makes your spine tingle and the hair on your neck stand at attention. The mind fights for an interpretation of what’s transpiring. It seeks to distinguish the blurry white objects location and it’s potential threat to life and limb. Am I in danger from the now energized white sphere of a baseball deflected away from the hitter by his precise swing? The mind immediately becomes aware that a significant amount of kinetic energy has been released. And its near enough to cause injury. Self preservation and increased alertness are automatically and involuntarily invoked by your autonomic nervous system instantly. The collective 38,000 plus persons inhales emitting an audible gasp as they spring to their feet and crane necks to follow the accelerating flight of the ball. Thousands of minds burn watts of energy as they attempt to will the balls flight. They attempt to affect its direction. “Get outta here,” the home crowd prays to the forces of baseball. The ball rises then arcs downward with a fizzing sound. A lone outfielder gives mandatory but ultimately futile chase seeking to meet the ball at its landing point. Finally, the balls flight succumbs to the gravity all earthbound object must obey and descends to earth. But not before clearing the center field fence and overflying a frustrated leaping outfielder who crashes in to the outfield fence forcefully but with no chance in hell of interceding. As the ball completes its earthbound flight path clearing the stadium walls, pandemonium ensues. Stadium screens flash “HOME RUN!”
Fireworks burst in air as a deafening cheer erupts from the crowd. It’s loud. It’s deafening. It’s equal in decibels to a jet engine. So loud that your own cheers are drowned out and become inaudible to your own self!
It’s a collective throaty scream that is unmistakably human. It stimulates deep seated emotions and instincts buried deep in the primitive human brain. It causes the listener to all at once search his recognition memory for a match, an interpretation. What has caused so many humans to scream out all at once. For it is not one but many voices in a crescendo chorus belting out and focused in time with each other. Images almost imperceptibly flood the mind a baby in distress, a woman’s deep cry at the moment of childbirth, a battle cry of charge, a scream of pain, no none of these. The visual cues fill in the required information and allow interpretation. Understanding follows. Thousands jump up and down, smile, wave banners, pump fists into the air in celebration. The visiting team members bow their heads, shrinking away now only slumped figures in the duggout. This is the outcry of joyous revelry! A Home Run! The big one, the grand salmi, the whole enchilada! Yes, yes! There will be joy in Mudville tonight! The home has won. The sweet release of victory flushes thru the arteries oh the fanatics. Pure childlike joy. What a game! There is no doubt. God loves baseball! The Home Run is baseballs warrior archangel Michael swinging his mighty swift sword to change the balance in mans perpetual struggle to overcome the opposition! To win! Thank God for baseball!