Put on a glove, watch a game, and the years fall away, time stands still, and the joy of baseball reminds you again of life’s eternal sweetness.
It could be in a bottom bureau drawer beneath some old tee shirts, sweat pants that no longer fit or laundered dress shirts purchased during the first Reagan administration and not worn since the second Clinton tenure. It might be on a closet shelf or perhaps in the attic, wrapped tightly in thick twine. Or maybe—if you’re an optimist, someone who never checks the date of birth on your driver’s license or are simply a bit delusional—it’s in the trunk of your car, ready to be used at the simplest provocation: a sunny day, a field, a driveway, a back-yard, really doesn’t matter.
It’s your glove, your baseball glove. It’s got a soul, a memory all its own, and a future that never fades because it has never let go of the grasp the past has on you and so many others.
It might be a hand-me-down relic, a Spalding fielder’s glove with the name “George Kell,” faded but still semi-recognizable, stitched on its pocket, the leather darkened by 60 years of use. Maybe it’s a catcher’s mitt from 1962, a MacGregor Yogi Berra or Del Crandall model. Or a Wilson outfielder’s glove from the ’70s just like the one worn by Fred Lynn or the great Clemente before he died. Might even be your latest purchase, a Rawlings RGG1200, nice, soft leather, nearly broken in, less than a year old, bought because you never know when someone might want to play catch.
The glove is like checking a calendar. It comes out of the drawer, the attic, the trunk of your car with the first tease of spring. Comes out and stays out with the arrival of baseball and Opening Day.