The Icepick Begins

I’m in the mood for a re-boot. Or at least, a bit of a re-imagining of the blog, maybe just for a couple of days or weeks, maybe permanently.

I suppose, I’m tired of being angry. When your 3½-year-old can self-ignite a Three-Mile Island-sized meltdown — seemingly with the single-mindedness of a burglar blowing a safe — over shutting off the TV, or leaving for preschool, or coming to dinner, you start to wonder if you’re looking in the mirror at a Yoda-sized image of yourself, and that maybe you should be a better dad in changing that image — on both sides of this metaphorical mirror — for the better. Or perhaps it’s an extension of the Terrible Two’s (or Trying Three’s, or whatever they’re called).

Anger seems to be enveloping us all, a lot of it warranted, a lot of it unfocused, a lot of it downright scary, and almost no one is looking in the mirror. When a person like this can attract a following by both patronizing and stoking that anger, when a person like this can incite near riot-level rage without any personal accountability and deflecting the blame onto her perceived enemies, you have to be worried about where the country is going (and, no, retromingent tea partiers, er, pirates, I’m not talking about our government, or, to borrow FDR’s sometime sobriquet, That Man in the White House). And that’s to say nothing of the anger people pour forth that reveals, unintentionally or not, once privately held prejudices and racism, an impossibility of identifying with anyone who doesn’t look exactly like you, and a lack of simple empathy and self-reflection (again, look in the mirror; or look at 1930s Germany; take your pick).

OK, so there’s that.

Then there’s baseball. Readers of this blog sort-of know I was once a sportswriter. To borrow a baseball analogy, I never made it out of the Short-Season Class A newspapers up the organizational ladder to The Show, though I twice covered MLB games (call it my own version of a September call-up, if you will).  That was more than a decade ago. No, I’m not still bitter.

But I still love baseball, more so now as a fan, more so since my still-current rooting for the Mets since I left the Yankees (er, since the Yankees left me), and even more so for a reason I’ll discuss in a moment. The Mets came in fourth place in their division last year, finished 12 games below .500, are off to a dispiriting 2-4 start, and are losing 8-0 in the fourth as I write this. The Yankees won the World Series. I’ve always been a big believer in buying low and selling high, but I digress.

As for my generational viewpoints, I feel like I’ve written a lot on the topic, and I’m not sure what else I have to say on the intersection of American generations. By dint of my very age, I’ll still be writing from the perspective of a person born between 1961 and 1981 (or 1965 and 1979, or what have you). I love reading about the world from the perspective of my fellow members of Generation X, and I would direct you to any of the blogs listed in my primary blogroll for unique insights by these talented writers, all of whom put my meager skills to shame. Bravo and Brava!

So, more baseball. Burying my head in the sand to avoid the national mood, or simply a mood swing by a mercurial blogger? Who knows. Or perhaps in the words of John Bender, who cares?

Well, one person, at least, makes me care.

For a long time, I stopped following sports. Sportswriting burnout for some years, simple boredom for others, and simply focusing on work and family for others. But that little half-pint in our house with the determination only a toddler possesses owns a smile that lights up a room like GE once lit up Schenectady. And nothing lights up his smile more than a bat, ball and glove (well, that and fire trucks, but I can’t fit one of those in the garage).

And that joy — pure, innocent, unalloyed, uninhibited joy — has re-ignited a dormant love of baseball for me, and in truth, has since he first started yelling “run the bases” as soon as he was old enough to walk. It’s just now I feel like writing about it more often.

The other day, Icepick Jr. had a stomach ache at naptime. Kneeling next to his bed, stroking the hair off his forehead, I told him to try not to think about his tummy, and instead think about what makes him happy as a way to slip off to sleep.

“What makes you happy?”

“Mommy. … Playing with Silas. … Playing baseball and watching the ValleyCats.”

Sleep tight.


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