All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Genius Guide to the Good Life

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

13

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

Take Me Out to the Ballgame
Jeff Fitzgerald, Genius By

Sign in to view read count
Humphrey Bogart said, 'A hot dog at the game beats roast beef at the Ritz.' Are you going to argue with Bogey? Do you even American, bro?
As a licensed, board certified Genius, it goes without saying that I have a wide and eclectic range of interests. From World War I to Shakespeare, from Jazz to a vast array of world cuisines, from the supervolcano underneath Yellowstone Park to the upper 2/3s of actress Kat Dennings. I am a man of many parts.

For all my pursuits, though, there are only a handful of things I am really passionate about. Music, obviously, is chief among them. I have harbored a deep and abiding love for it virtually my entire life, even before I took up a musical instrument at the age of 12. There is food, being from a food-centric culture in Southern Appalachia, particularly pizza and Barbecue*. And then there's baseball.

It would be an understatement to say that I am a sports fan. While I don't spend my time memorizing stats or going to games with my face painted the colors of the home team, I do spend a goodly portion of my leisure hours watching sports. In the fall, I enjoy the quaint and vaguely anachronistic collegial atmosphere of Washington & Lee University's football games. As fall turns to winter, I can be found at the home rink of Roanoke's hockey team, the Rail Yard Dawgs (yes, they spell it like that and yes, I think it's cutesy and annoying). Having been a wrestler myself, I also enjoy college wrestling. But as winter turns to spring, a special part of my soul awakens with those four magic words: "Pitchers and catchers report."

It's sort of the same thing with Jazz. I like a wide variety of music, from vintage alternative rock to Mexican banda, but only Jazz awakens that part of my soul that nothing else can touch. It is as pure a feeling as an imperfect human such as myself can experience, and the best part of it is that it is not rare. I can have that feeling any time I want just by putting a Coltrane CD into the player. Or by attending any one of the thousands of baseball games that will be played this year.

I have already purchased my half season tickets for the Salem Red Sox, of the venerable Carolina League. You will find me in my designated seat for at least 35 games, enjoying an overpriced beer and an undersized hot dog as I cheer on the local nine. I also plan on attending my annual Orioles game with Commodore Ricci, and seeing my beloved Atlanta Braves in their shiny new park. And I will be in my Zen, a place of great peace punctuated by moments of boundless excitement disturbed only by the occasional request for the umpire get his head out of his ass and watch the same damned game the rest of us are.

Moving forward.

There is something about baseball that inspires me to leave the comfort of the Geniusdome 35+ times per summer and sit out in the balmy evening air watching men attempt to hit a ball with a stick. And it goes even deeper than the fact that I've been a baseball fan since I first started playing Little League 42 years ago. It speaks to my elemental being, my unalterable self, where lives my most basic identity as an American and a Virginian. It is as ingrained in me as is my left-handedness, my heterosexuality, and my steadfast belief that Sofia Coppola was not the only reason that Godfather III was such a flaming pile of fail.

On the surface of it, baseball is a relatively simple game. The game is divided into nine innings, each inning gives both sides three outs to work with, each batter gets three strikes or four balls (quit giggling) to get either a hit or a walk. The pitcher delivers the ball, the batter tries to hit it. If he hits the ball, all nine defensive players try to catch it before it hits the ground; or, failing that, catch it and throw the batter out at first base. Once on base, the object is to move around the bases and return home to score a run. As easy as getting naked or killed on Game of Thrones.

Beneath the surface, however, baseball is a game of almost unfathomable depth. To the untrained eye, it might appear that there's a whole lot of standing around doing nothing. That's the same attitude that hears Jazz as just a bunch of tuneless noodling. There is always something going on during a baseball game, wheels turning even between innings. The pitcher and catcher are constantly conspiring as to whether to deliver the pitch fast or slow, high or low, inside or outside. The batter is trying to predict the pitcher's intent. The managers in the dugout and the coaches on the field are constantly relaying instructions to the players by way of cryptic physical signals that the other team is trying to decode.

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Bourbon, Neat Genius Guide to the Good Life
Bourbon, Neat
by Jeff Fitzgerald, Genius
Published: April 7, 2018
Read A Hitch In Time Genius Guide to the Good Life
A Hitch In Time
by Jeff Fitzgerald, Genius
Published: February 3, 2018
Read Binge Worthy Genius Guide to the Good Life
Binge Worthy
by Jeff Fitzgerald, Genius
Published: January 20, 2018
Read Take Me Out to the Ballgame Genius Guide to the Good Life
Take Me Out to the Ballgame
by Jeff Fitzgerald, Genius
Published: March 17, 2017
Read Struttin' With Some Barbecue Genius Guide to the Good Life
Struttin' With Some Barbecue
by Jeff Fitzgerald, Genius
Published: June 9, 2015
Read Brew Note Genius Guide to the Good Life
Brew Note
by Jeff Fitzgerald, Genius
Published: February 3, 2015
Read "Binge Worthy" Genius Guide to the Good Life Binge Worthy
by Jeff Fitzgerald, Genius
Published: January 20, 2018
Read "Bourbon, Neat" Genius Guide to the Good Life Bourbon, Neat
by Jeff Fitzgerald, Genius
Published: April 7, 2018
Read "A Hitch In Time" Genius Guide to the Good Life A Hitch In Time
by Jeff Fitzgerald, Genius
Published: February 3, 2018
Read "Diane Schuur at Birdland" Live Reviews Diane Schuur at Birdland
by Tyran Grillo
Published: November 20, 2017
Read "Culture Clubs: A History of the U.S. Jazz Clubs, Part I: New Orleans and Chicago" Under the Radar Culture Clubs: A History of the U.S. Jazz Clubs, Part I:...
by Karl Ackermann
Published: September 29, 2017
Read "Four Beethoven Symphony Cycles – Blomstedt, Blunier, Weil, and Martynov" Bailey's Bundles Four Beethoven Symphony Cycles – Blomstedt, Blunier,...
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: November 18, 2017
Read "Edgefest 2017: Give the Drummers Some, Part 2-2" Live Reviews Edgefest 2017: Give the Drummers Some, Part 2-2
by Troy Dostert
Published: October 30, 2017