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Entry date: 8-13-2023 – There is No Joy in Mudville – Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,


I miss baseball.


There, I said it. I miss being obsessed with the stats and watching the game. Even more, though, I long to play the game. I know that ship has sailed, but when I drive by Washington Park near my house and see people playing softball, I want to be out there and I want the game to have a mound, a smaller ball, and I want to pitch.


My knee couldn’t do it for very long, though. This much is true. I would end up with another injury if I played baseball the way I would want to play it. I don’t know how long my shoulder would last, either, if I was pitching the way I used to like to pitch.


When I was in my late 20s and early 30s, I would go to the park behind the house where I lived in Ahwatukee and pitch to the wall. I would see my strike zone in the bricks, and I could hit it at a very successful rate. Many times I thought about joining one of the adult leagues, but life was too busy and I wasn’t about to cut down on music to play ball.


Silly.


I could have easily cut down on the music, looking back. It’s not that have regrets, really, but hindsight is at they say it is, 20/20.


I don’t miss baseball enough, though, to support a team like the Diamondbacks with my wallet. I won’t give my money to Ken Kendrick so he can then donate some of it to people like Lauren Boebert. I just can’t. Sure, that is me making baseball political, but I have to draw the line somewhere. Why should I care what Kendrick does with his money? I don’t know, but it rubs me the wrong way.


I’m not really big into giving any professional sport anything more than some of my time and attention. I have bought a few Suns shirts over the years and I wear them without hesitation. I’ve been gifted Cardinals stuff and I’ll wear that, too, even though their owner was, and probably still is, buddies with good ol’ Doug Douche-y. I’m a hypocrite, I suppose, but I wouldn’t buy a ticket to a Cardinals game.


Like the Dbacks, the Cardinals are one of those teams where I really don’t believe in my heart the ownership cares about winning. I think they are fine with the fact that some people are going to come to the games because that’s what they like and what they do. The NFL is so popular that the Cardinals will have great attendance no matter what kind of crap they put on the field. I don’t know that baseball is that popular anymore, but I’m guessing Kendrick is still making money on the team.


I miss it, though. I do. The numbers of baseball are something that I used to love to wrap my brain around. I created several different dice baseball games that passed the time for me growing up. I started a story that was related to this last year. I’ll go back to it again at some point. I have it worked out in my head. This writing thing takes up time, too.


There is something beautiful to me about how the threes and nines and fours all play together. I love that the positions in baseball have a number. It’s all about division and fractions, too. Figuring out a pitcher’s ERA (earned run average…the amount of runs they average giving up over 9 innings), for example, just warms my heart. If I thought my students gave two shits about baseball, I would use baseball examples in math all the time.


I’d teach them one of my dice baseball games so they could learn their adding and dividing like I did when I was younger. I could see at-bats and hits and instantly know what the batting average was and being able to do math quickly in my head has served me well. That talent is lost on younger generations, for the most part, because they don’t have to know their facts nearly as much now. Their phone will tell them what the answer is every time.


I only had one student in my class last year who was playing little league. I know this is a financial thing for a lot of them, but it’s still sad as hell. Growing up, almost everyone I knew played. It was a way that I connected with a lot of people my own age, too. It was something that you could bond over, even if those friendships didn’t last too long after the season ended. I felt part of something that I could get behind and as humans, we love that shit.


If you want to play catch sometime, just let me know. I have a mitt.


See you tomorrow.



One of my Dad's friends did this when I was a young'un.

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David Lathrop
David Lathrop
Aug 13, 2023

Coach Tom, come watch Victoria play sometime...

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I would love to do that.

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