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One of the first lessons he or she learns is that in baseball anything, absolutely anything, can happen. Just two days ago as I write this, something happened that had never happened in baseball before.
My egotistical concern was less that I would fail to relate to my classmates than that they would know nothing of my uniquely tortured life's course and, thus, me.
More fundamentally, it is a dream that does not die with the onset of manhood: the dream is to play endlessly, past the time when you are called home for dinner, past the time of doing chores, past the time when your body betrays you past time itself.
In response to the challenge of strangers, sport arose as a sublimated representation of a community's armed might as well as its pride of place and clan.
In over 160 years of recorded baseball history, no team had ever won a championship this way.
If I haven't made myself clear, this worrisome chain of events describes the game of the nineteenth century.
I think that much of this was running in background as I contemplated whether or not to attend the PS 99 reunion, although I certainly anticipated that I would not; it smelled like death, not youth.
For many of us, sport has provided the continuity in our lives, the alternative family to the one we left behind. It gives us something to talk about, to preen about, to care about.
For many in baseball September is a month of stark contrast with April, when everyone had dared to hope. If baseball is a lot like life, as pundits declare, it is because life is more about losing than winning.
Finally, for all of us but a lucky few, the dream of playing big-time baseball is relinquished so we can get on with grown-up things.
Donning a glove for a backyard toss, or watching a ball game, or just reflecting upon our baseball days, we are players again, forever young.
Do we settle on a regional team because we can go to its ballpark and see its games on television? Or do we choose a team as our favorite because it has an especially appealing player, a Barry Bonds or an Ichiro?
Distant replay morphs into instant replay, and future replay cannot be far off.
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