The Light Post in Center Field

This story just may be a nice dream. Without fabricating information, I always dream of my late father, mother and brother as though they belong in a blog. Weekly, they are alive and they seem the same as I remembered them. The saddest part of it all is I can’t hear their laughter in the dreams.

The light post in centerfield doesn’t just provide light to baseball players who can’t play when darkness arrives. It represents an idea when fathers and mothers can only watch them perform after closing time. Yes, baseball was meant to be a day game, but as long as the lighting is correct, and without the sun in your eyes, the ballplayers could see not only the players and fans in front of you, but also the folks behind you.

Having a nice chat with a friend the other day who loves and misses the game of baseball, we talked about it a bit. The chat reminded me of a story once told by my late brother, Steve, and even a later father, Rod.

Steve and our dad had a pretty good relationship when Steve was a youth…so I’m told. Steve and dad both loved baseball.

As all of us did, at some point, chose our own positions in society. In baseball, the positions were chosen for you. Some were outfielders, some infielders, some pitchers and some catchers. It didn’t really matter. We just wanted to play or perform. Our brother, Steve, only wanted to play when our father wasn’t at the game. He always thought dad gave him a baseball jinx. Baseball players love using that as an excuse for failure. If you know anything about baseball, you don’t need any excuses for failure. It’s just a law. You fail. Do the math. Then, you make adjustments and then fail again. It’s either, “this sport stinks..I quit”, or, you go to The Hall of Fame if you beat the odds.

Steve wanted to go to The Hall of Fame, but he couldn’t handle our old man at the Ballpark. Our old man was, in baseball, Steve’s only achilles heel. Steve would be positioned in centerfield watching the game in front of him. He was only looking for the old man. When he couldn’t find him in the stands, it shook him away from the proper game. Instinctively, Steve knew our dad couldn’t miss a game. Like a crossword puzzle, much like when you have to leave the coffee table for a break just to figure out the answer, Steve went to the dugout instead. It was then when he found our dad behind the light post. At the conclusion of the inning, Steve trotted back to centerfield. Dad remained camouflaged behind the brown light post wearing his bright blue cigarette stained jacket only Steve could identify and the other members of the community could identify.

With his back turned to him, Steve yelled, “I know you’re behind that post!.” Dad was caught watching his son play baseball.

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