Mutt: You start pitching on Thursday.
That’s a joke, right? Baseball in Heaven, baseball as heaven, playing a never-ending game: 9 innings, ten, a hundred, a billion innings. Life and afterlife as an endless season. Isn’t it? (Many of the Giants are already playing Winter Ball to bide the time till spring training starts.) And when a runner gets home and scores and is happy (even without a smile, especially without a smile), if the inning doesn’t end, they get another at-bat to begin again. Infinite do-overs.
Ever sit in an airport and watch the people flow by? The features blur. Clothes, hair, nose shapes, skin color, all different until they become all one. I could be in love with that person, but we’ve never met. That could be my dear son, if I had one. What if they were my father and mother instead of the ones I have? If that person was my friend for life? What? Would it all be the same? Are we interchangeable pieces? Plug-in people in one another’s lives? Is it really, 'love the one you're with'? In the stands? (Just so they're not Dodger fans.)
Walt Whitman played and watched the game at its beginnings. He wrote about it in Leaves of Grass, which includes:
I celebrate myself, and sing myself,Identity, commonality, playfulness, history, family, health, life-death and summer grass—that’s baseball, folks. The poet’s sport. That’s the answer to every question. Try it.
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.
I loafe and invite my soul,
I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.
My tongue, every atom of my blood, form'd from this soil, this air,
Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and their parents the same,
I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin,
Hoping to cease not till death.
Jeff: Pay increase?
Mutt: Dream on, boy.