About the author: In public a conservative accountant, in private Mals slips on her magic footgear and becomes the writer of the blog Muse in Wooden Shoes. Mals lives on a farm in Southwest Virginia with her husband, where they raise hay, cattle, and three children.
As we Americans celebrate the beginning of our nation on Independence Day, I think it’s appropriate to focus on that most American of sports, baseball. Long identified — along with motherhood and apple pie — as the quintessence of America, baseball continues to hold an eminent position in the United States. Baseball phrases (“Three strikes and you’re out!” or “Step up to the plate!”) pepper our speech. Major League Baseball is a multibillion-dollar industry. Baseball heroes like Lou Gehrig, Jackie Robinson and Babe Ruth are instantly recognizable figures. And every little community seems to have its own baseball field, even if it’s only an empty lot with four rubber mats serving as bases.
I came to the appreciation of baseball later than many people do: soon after I married my husband, I realized that I had actually promised to “love, honor, and allow him to watch baseball on TV,” whether that wording was technically in the ceremony or not. Thanks to diligent spousal coaching, I’ve learned the rules and guiding principles of baseball, as well as some strategy, alongside our kids, and I love going to games. I say confidently that baseball is great if you understand what’s going on. Also, no matter how interesting the actual game is, it’s always rewarding to immerse your senses in the setting of the game.
If you’re playing, I’m told, baseball is a richly olfactory experience…