Our lives are made immeasurably richer because we have Baseball, and perhaps more importantly, because in the Mountain States of Montana, Idaho, Utah and Colorado we have the Pioneer League in our communities. It’s there for a family night out, for the young players whose careers are just getting started,
Our lives are made immeasurably richer because we have Baseball, and perhaps more importantly, because in the Mountain States of Montana, Idaho, Utah and Colorado we have the Pioneer League in our communities. It’s there for a family night out, for the young players whose careers are just getting started, and for the hospitals and schools our players visit. The ballparks of our league become a place for recognizing local heroes, merchants and high school champions; a place for preserving the game’s continuum from Jackie Robinson to Frank Robinson, from Mookie Wilson to Mookie Betts.
We mark the times of our life by the memories we share and for so many of us, we’ve come to the ballpark over the years with parents and grandparents, with our kids and our friends for a common experience where baseball is played as it was meant to be - for the love of the game - and for a few hours we can diffuse, relaxing with a dog and a beer, beefing over a close call, joyously cheering a bloop and a blast.
There may be those who would say the game is a vestige of the past, that it no longer occupies prominence in the soul of America. They would tell you that the game’s too slow for a video game generation or that it lacks relevance to diverse audiences.
Though there may be simplistic truths to these cliched critiques, the real story of today’s Baseball, particularly the game played in the Mountain States communities of the Pioneer Baseball League, is not about instant gratification or clock-driven deadlines, but rather about lovely summer nights at a bandbox ballpark with kids in tow, a dog with mustard in hand and very talented young men playing the game as it was meant to be played…with delight and grace and grand dreams of making it to the big leagues.
We come to the yard for a fun night out, expecting the familiar comforts of this living connection to our past with its carny ambiance of kitschy, guilty pleasures wafting their compulsive aromata once we pass through the main gates like crossing into the Technicolor of an Oz-like wonderworld. It’s like an amusement park wrapped around a brilliant, green outfield pasture enclosed by an assault of fence signs urging us, appropriately, to support our local merchants.
Those young men on the field remind us of what this game is about. Athletic and strong, they can perform impossible, balletic feats providing maybe an insight into their promise yet to be realized. After all, these are very talented players, even at such a young age, who may still develop the full array of skills they’ll someday need to survive against the best of the best. Or, like most, they may not succeed to the promised land of the majors but will forever recall their golden halcyon days of a summer in Montana, Idaho, Colorado or Utah...giving us all they had.
We will remember them too. Maybe not by name, but rather for the memories they created for us and the moments of our lives we shared.
It is good to have Baseball here in these stalwart western communities where we have such a great appreciation for the precious pleasures of life, like our community’s pro baseball team playing in the intimacy of our local ballparks with their homey, quirky resonance to a fading Americana. As we go about raising our families and living our days, we have this game of Baseball to hold dear.
Baseball, after all, unites us with our diverse backgrounds, perspectives and passions in the common joy of taking the time to sit for a moment and just enjoy a ballgame.