We Return Home To Start A New Year

We have all rounded the bases and are heading “home” to start a New Year, as 2008 fades into the darkness of night, leaving us with many memories of another complete Baseball Season. But, 2009 will provide us with many new memories, as we start from home on a journey that will once again end at home, at the end of the year 2009.

“What’s Home?” Is a question asked by the former Commissioner of Major League Baseball, A. Bartlett Giamatti, in an article, “Front-office Fan” by Todd Brewster.

Giamatti expanded on his thought by saying, “Home is longing for when you were happy because you were younger. At least you thought you were happier.”

Well, on the Eve of yet another New Year, we look within our hearts to find our path back “home”.

In Baseball, home plate is a very unique place, the most unique place in all sports. A. Bartlett Giamatti conjured up the unique images of home plate in his book, “Take Time For Paradise”, and talks about the significance it has in the game of baseball; and, also, in all our hearts, in the game of life.

Giamatti mused, “Home plate mysteriously organizes the field as it energizes the odd patterns of squares tipped and circles incomplete. Home plate radiates a force no other spot on the field possesses, for its irregular precision, its character as an incomplete square but finished pentagram, starts the field, if you will, playing. It begins the dance of line and circle, the encounters of energy, direct and oblique, of misdirection and confrontation, of boundary and freedom that is the game, before any player sets foot on the field. Home plate also has a peculiar significance for it is the goal of both teams, the single place that in territorially based games — games about conqueing — must be symbolized by two goals or goal lines or nets or baskets. In baseball, everyone wants to arrive at the same place, which is where they start.”

“In baseball, even opponents gather at the same curious, unique place called home plate. Catcher and Batter, siblings who may see the world separately but share the same sight lines, are backed up and yet ruled by the parent figure, the umpire, whose place is the only one not completely defined. This tense family clusters at home, facing the world together, each with separate responsibilities and tasks and perspectives, each with different obligations and instruments. Some are intent on flight, some on communication, some simply on the good order of it all — the ‘conduct of the game’ — but they are still a family or family-like group in their proximity, their overall perspective, their chatter and squabbling, their common desire, differently expressed, to master the ferocity and duplicity of that spherical, irrational reality — the major league pitch.”

“Why is home plate not called fourth base? As far as I can tell it has always been thus.”

“And why not? Meditate upon the name. ‘Home’ is an English word virtually impossible to translate into other tongues. No translation catches the associations, the mixture of memory and longing, the sense of security and autonomy and accessibility, the aroma of inclusiveness, of freedom from wariness, that cling to the word ‘home’ and are absent from ‘house’ or even ‘my house’. Home is a concept, not a place; it is a state of mind where self-definition starts; it is orgins — the mix of time and place and smell and weather wherein one first realizes one is an original, perhaps ‘like’ others, especially those one loves, but discrete, distinct, not to be copied. Home is where one first learned to be separate and it remains in the mind as the place where reunion, if it ever were to occur, would happen.” … A. Bartlett Giamatti

“The national pastime, he said, is an oft-told tale that recommences with every pitch, with every game, with every season. It’s leaving home and struggling to return”. [Edward B. Fiske, “Lessons”]

So, as the snow falls, and the temperature drops into the teens, and the wind-chill factor is below zero, as hundreds of thousands of people wait for the ball to drop in Times Square, I sit here in the beautiful, Bronx, New York, waiting for the New Year to arrive.

It feels great to be warm and comfortable in my home as I await the New Year.

But, what I really look forward to [again] is seeing “home plate”, on beautiful green baseball fields, not covered with snow, but glowing with all our dreams and hopes of another new baseball season.

And, all the action on these beautiful baseball diamonds with start at “home” and end at “home”. But, home will always be in our hearts, as our destination will be home plate on our own “Field of Dreams”.

 

Best Wishes, to everybody, for a Very Happy and Healthy New Year !!!

— Jimmy Curran, “Baseball, The Yankees, and Life” 

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12 comments

  1. juliasrants

    Jimmy – simply beautiful! May we all always have a “home plate” to call our own. Why do I think we call it “home plate” in baseball? Because it is the sport, more then any other in my opinion, that draws us ‘home’. That takes us back to our youth. To Little League games at the park and family games in the backyard. You drive through middle American, or the inner city, or the wealthiest neighbor and you’ll see the dad and son, the mom and daughter, the brother and sister out in the yard playing catch. Baseball is part of the fabric of our country and no matter where we are when we watch a game we are transported home. We all need that ‘home plate’ to keep us grounded and to remind us who we are. I hope that you and yours have a Happy, Healthy and Peaceful New Year Jimmy! And may we all have lots of baseball to write about in 2009.

    Julia
    http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

  2. Jane Heller

    Bart Giamatti was such a brilliant man. Thanks for bringing his words back to us, Jimmy. During the research for my book, I followed the Yankees to cities across the country, but it wasn’t until one particular series at Yankee Stadium that I realized I was “home.” It was a moment of clarity for me and I’ll never forget it. Happy New Year and GO YANKS!

    http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

  3. kbp

    Jimmy and friends

    I hope your New Years Eve was sensational. Did you have your own fireworks display in The Bronx or could you see Times Square. Here In Melbourne we had our own supervised display which was brilliant. I hope all of your resolutions baseball aside come to fruition.

    My plans to visit NYC are again in place and we Patrick 15 Angus 13 and I arrive on 10 May 2009.We will be there for a month in Manhattan at my Nieces apartment. While there I will be making enquiries about permanently working and living in NYC with the boys. Hopefully I can pick your brains about suitable schools for two brilliant students and tennis players. It should be very exciting.

    Happy New Year

    Aussie Bryan

  4. jimmy27nyy

    Thanks, Julia …

    Just thinking about “home plate” and how it’s such a special place in baseball, and the most unique place in all sports, makes us think about our own homes and as you said, Julia, “takes us back to our youth” !!! … In the days of our youth, we all have many great memories of playing catch with our father, or mother, or other family members, or our friends; or, playing in Little League, or in the street, or at the local school yard, or in open fields, maybe not like the corn field in the movie “Field of Dreams”, but, never the less, our own “Field of Dreams” !!! … Baseball is a big part of this great Country of ours, the U.S.A.; and, is also, a big part of many Countries throughout the world, that gives us all a great and safe feeling of being “home” !!! … Julia, you summed it up best when you said, “we all need that ‘home plate’ to keep us grounded and to remind us who we are” !!! … Thanks again, Julia, for your kind words … May you and your family have a Very Happy and Healthy New Year !!! … 2009 will be a great year; and, also, an “awesome” year here at mlb.com/mlblogs !!! … Jimmy [27NYY]

  5. jimmy27nyy

    Hey, Jane …

    Yeah, I agree, Bart Giamatti was “a brilliant man”, and truly was the perfect person to be Commissioner of Baseball, at the time he held that position … His life ended way too soon; May he “rest in peace” !!! … But, Mr. Giamatti’s words will live on and last until the end of time !!! … His book “Take Time For Paradise”, and biography, “A Life Of, A. Bartlett Giamatti”, by Giamatti and Anthony Valerio, are great works filled with many of Bart Giamatti’s thoughts and words of inspiration on “Life” and our great National Pastime, “Baseball” !!! … Jane, it would be interesting to hear more about your “moment of clarity” at that series [that you talked about in your above comments] at Yankee Stadium, when you realized that you were “home” !!! … All the best, for a Very Happy and Healthy New Year; and, #1 on the “Best Sellers” Lists for your “book”, “Confessions of a She-Fan” !!! … Jimmy [27NYY]

  6. jimmy27nyy

    Hey, Aussie Bryan … Happy New Year, Mate !!!

    Yeah, I had a great New Year’s Eve and Day — A great start to the year 2009 !!! … Actually, it was very quiet in my neighborhood, the most quiet it has ever been, I think [and, no fireworks this year] … But, it was very cold here in New York, below freezing with the wind-chill factor !!! … So, that was the major reason why everyone stayed in their houses at the stroke of midnight [I did open my front door, though, and gave out a loud “Happy New Year” which broke the quiet in the cold New Year’s Eve night] … Of course, I did watch all the action, and the “ball” dropping, at “Times Square” on T.V. !!! … Bryan, by the time you arrive in NYC in the middle of May, the weather should be much warmer … It will be great to see you, and your sons, at that time !!! … And, “WOW”, Bryan, you’re thinking about moving to New York with your sons !!! … Now, that’s a “major move”, and great New Year’s resolution — A move by a great Yankees fan from “Down Under”, to be closer to the great New York Yankees for the whole baseball season !!! … It will be very exciting; and, I look forward to your visit to NYC !!! … Bryan, I will e-mail you to talk more about this “awesome” news … So, until then, take care, and Best Wishes, to you and your family, for a Very Happy and Healthy New Year … God Bless !!! … Go Yankees !!! … Jimmy [27NYY]

  7. Jane Heller

    My “moment of clarity” that I referred to in the earlier comment had to do with the fact that I’ve moved so much over the course of my life – NY, CT, FL, different parts of CA. When you’re a writer you can live wherever you want and try new places. The downside is you lose your sense of “home.” While I was on the road, writing “Confessions of a She-Fan,” I also felt dislocated, going to a different city every few days – until one particular series at Yankee Stadium. I was surrounded by other passionate fans and it really did feel like home. It was great!

    http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

  8. jimmy27nyy

    Hi, Jane …

    That “moment of clarity” you talked about in your above comments must have been a truly “great” feeling !!! … Like you said, “surrounded by other passionate fans, it really did feel like home [for you – at Yankee Stadium]. It was great” !!! … For me, that great feeling of “being at home” as a fan of the New York Yankees, started by listening to Phil Rizzuto broadcast the games on T.V. and radio, talking about the great Yankee players, teams, and “Tradition” !!! … From those early days, I always felt like the Yankees were my extended family, and it was always a “great” and “warm” feeling to either watch or listen to the games, or go to Yankee Stadium to watch the Yankees play !!! … And, I always had that great feeling of “being at home” when I was in Yankee Stadium; especially, when first entering the Stadium each time, and having that “tunnel experience” Elizabeth talked about on her post, “My First Game at Fenway” http://redsoxgirl46.mlblogs.com/archives/2008/11/my_first_game_at_fenway.html … You know the feeling, walking up the ramp and seeing the field for the first time on each visit !!! … I always felt “at home” during those times !!! … Thanks, Jane, for sharing that great memory !!! … Jimmy [27NYY], “BY&L”

  9. Elizabeth D

    Jimmy,
    This was so beautiful! “In baseball, everyone wants to arrive at the same place, which is where they start.” I absolutely love that quote, and this one as well. “The national pastime, he said, is an oft-told tale that recommences with every pitch, with every game, with every season. It’s leaving home and struggling to return”. [Edward B. Fiske, “Lessons”]. This is what makes baseball so unique, and it really brings everyone together! I can’t wait ’til baseball season Jimmy!
    -Elizabeth
    http://redsoxgirl46.mlblogs.com

  10. jimmy27nyy

    Hi, Elizabeth …

    Yeah, the words of Bart Giamatti are so “profound” and “thoughtful”, yet so simple and beautiful !!! … Baseball is so much a mirror image of life, and at the center of both is “Home” … We all start at home, and at times, struggle to return. But, when we do return back home it is where our hearts belong because that is where we all long to be, no matter where we traveled to — second base, or far away from our home !!! … Returning “home” is the goal we all have; and, as Bart Giamatti also said in his above quotes, “home is a concept, not a place; it is a state of mind where self-definition starts” !!! … Using our quote, Elizabeth, all these words by A. Bartlett Giamatti are … “so beautiful” !!! … Take care, Elizabeth … and, “Think Spring” !!! … Jimmy [27NYY]

  11. indiansfan39

    Very well put… Nice piece… I hope I can reflect in my blogs as you did in this piece about “home”

  12. jimmy27nyy

    Hi, indiansfan39,

    Thanks for the visit; and, also, the kind words about by above post !!! … Good Luck with your new mlblog, “Baseball=Life, Life=Baseball” !!! … Jimmy [27NYY], “BY&L”

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