In his memoir Decision Points, George W. Bush relayed a story about the night he threw out the ceremonial opening pitch at Yankee Stadium when the World Series resumed play after the tragedy of 9/11. He said that he ran into Derek Jeter in the bullpen before the game and asked him if he should throw the pitch from the front of the mound or the top of the mound.
According to Bush, Jeter said, “Throw it from the top if the mound. If you throw it from the front of the mound, they’ll boo you. And don’t bounce it. If you bounce it, they’ll boo you.”
Maybe it is just be, but that night was the night to me that America seemed to really be back on its feet after 9/11. And as Jeter hit a home run to end the game with the wreckage of the twin towers still smoking, even I, as a die-hard Yankee hater who takes second place to no Yankee-hater on earth, could appreciate that once again baseball had symbolized America as a whole and the indomitable spirit of this great country.
Today, things are as uncertain as ever. But across the country today, grounds crews are busy mowing grass and raking infields. Yet again this year, pitchers will toe the rubber as sold out crowds wait in anticipation for the two words we have gone too long without.
May you be fortunate enough today to spend the day playing hooky from work and enjoying the pop of the leather and the crack of the bat with the feeling of warm sunshine on your face and the smell of warm hot dogs and funnel cake in your nostrils.
God bless America, and PLAY BALL!