By Rosalie Tirella
Baseball can be so corny.
I guess that’s why we love it.
No matter how much teeth-grinding I engage in over the Kelley Square stadium being the final nail in the gentrification-coffin of my old beloved neighborhood, Green Island, I love driving by the ballpark just before game time and seeing the dads, uncles and big brothers leading the little boys in their lives into the stadium … down Green Street, up Madison Street, across Harding.
The little boys are four and five years old, and their tiny hands are engulfed in Dad’s big, reassuring paws because there is a ton of traffic. The boys are walking all jangly, half running!, as they strive to match the pace of the man-heroes in their lives – pops, big brothers and granddads taking them to their first baseball game! Invariably, they are in classic little boy uniform: soft blue jeans, sneakers that you can hold in the palm of your hand, a small cotton tee shirt (blue, green – often older – ready to catch the mustard and ketchup from clumsily held Coney Island hot dogs ). A baseball cap, often on askew, “caps off” this all-American picture as the little boy hustles down the street with the tall grown-ups, part of the baseball parade – women, teenaged girls and their beaus, old timers – that is winding its way to the baseball park.
Always, as I watch this scene from my car (idling in traffic on Green Street), I smile. I’m oblivious to the traffic jam I’m in! A few times, a few tears have rolled down my cheeks.