Say It Ain’t So, Joe?

America’s pastime.
Cracker Jacks and hot dogs.
Iced cold sodas and even colder beers.
Three hours of pure Americana– a timeless sport of modern heroes.
The strike of the ball, the swing of the bat, the crowd.
A coalescence of all walks of like coming together to cheer on the home team.

Danger.  Danger.  Warning, Will Robinson.  Warning, Will Robinson.

A coalescence?
Absolutely in 1950.
Definitely in 1980.
Probably in 2000.

It is almost impossible for an average American family to attend a ball game.  I find this reality to be somewhat of a tragedy, a precursor signaling the onset of the “us and them” attitudes of the rich and average.

We are a family of five.  My husband and I both work full-time.  We pay our mortgage, our car payments, and our taxes.  We find enough money to support the kids’ activities, and in the summer, when the city is bustling, we want to get involved and have our children experience life for all it has to offer.  We want them to feel a kinship with their fellow Clevelanders and become true enthusiasts and supporters of all this city has to offer.

“Let’s go to a ballgame!” 

What a great idea!

Then I look at ticket prices.

Within the last five years, what used to be a twenty dollar ticket  has skyrocketed to $55.00 a seat.  How do I justify spending close to $300.00 just to walk through the door (I’m taking into account Ticketmaster charges and parking)?   Once I factor in concessions, we are probably looking at another $100.00.  What middle class American family can afford to attend multiple games in the summer knowing this is what they will be spending?   Sure, we could go to one, maybe even two, but I LOVE baseball and I want to attend more than that!

I try to rationalize.

It’s only money.  Sounds good until I look at my checking account and sure wish I had an extra four bills to put toward the landscaping project in the backyard.

Tom and I could just go.  Well dang it, that defeats the whole “family” thing I’ve got going on.

We could pawn two off at a time, and only take one at a time.  Yes, we could do that, but the bonds of sisterhood can be formed over a blustering rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” that lands them all beaming on the jumbotron.

So, I am left with a few options: break the bank or skip the game and feel a slight sense of guilt because I cannot afford to give my children what I want them to have.

I guess baseball has finally entered into the arena with all other major league sports.  The problem is that no other sport plays 164 games in regular season.  The other sports can charge more because in a world of supply and demand, there are less seats in relation to the length of the season.  When taking into consideration they Browns only play eight home games, it is much easier to rationalize a more expensive seat.

Maybe the sport of baseball will remember that they need me to be able to bring my girls to five or six games a year so that they will develop into the baseball aficionados that I am, and someday, want to share the love of the sport with their own children.

Our family used to try to support the Indians a few times a year.  However, it seems impossible.  Maybe its just a sign of the times.  Baseball has moved itself into the realm of the other major markets who aren’t looking at “the family” as their customer any longer.

Sometimes, when I want to be able to embrace the spirit of sitting in the ballpark, I feel as if I have been tricked.  I feel as disappointed as that young fan standing outside the courthouse in 1920; the boy who thought of Joe Jackson as a paladin: a regular guy living out a dream one home run at a time.  However, it was a ruse, a curveball of the greatest proportions.  “Say it ain’t so Joe.”  Maybe, the greed of Joe Jackson has always been the driving stimulus of our sport, and I have been tricked into believing they were playing for me, my city, and for the love of the game itself.




January 1st… Here We Go Again!

I am a fan of beginnings and I am not a fan of endings.

I find endings to be anticlimactic.  Walking across a stage, walking down an aisle, walking away from a job– I always think that something should materialize in these auspicious occasions– an orchestra or a parade.  Yet, nothing happens.  It is just… over.  All that anticipation, all that anxiety, and that was it?  I “walked” and it was over.

But beginnings!  Beginnings are magical because the future is unknown, and I know deep in my heart  that I have the power to influence what is to come.  Lucky for me, January 1st comes once  a year, and with the new month in the new year, I can start over.  I can make changes in my life and start fresh.  The year is a tabula rasa, and I am the ink in the pen stroke.

What will this year be?

  • Healthy: mentally, emotionally, and physically.
  • Energetic: anyone want to race?
  • Rewarding: time to take charge of my life.
  • Enterprising: maybe it’s time to stop being afraid of failure.
  • Whimsical: play more/worry less.
  • Eleemosynary: this word mean generous, and I like new words.  Oh, and generosity is the freedom from possession.
  • Gratified: thankful for all my blessings.
  • Observant: of those around me and of their needs.  A kind word goes a long way.
  • Accepting: forgive and forget, and then really forget.
  • Good-humored: I do like to laugh!
  • Affectionate: kisses, hugs, and compliments for all!
  • Imaginative: dream in color, live inspired!
  • Non-judgmental: who am I to judge?

Yes, 2014 is upon us, and I have a pretty good feeling about what will materialize this year.

To you and your families, I wish you health, happiness, and love in 2014.  May all of your dreams come true!  Happy New Year!

Dear Santa,

Hi Santa,

It’s me!  You probably have me in the naughty book because you haven’t gotten a letter from me since somewhere around 1980.  I know I have been a “non-believer” for sometime, but sitting and watching my eight-year-old painstakingly compose her letter to you got me to thinking.  She is writing you with the pure faith that you are a magical, loving, grandfatherly soul who wants nothing more than to make her happy.  As I watched her sign her name and place her letter in the envelope addressed to

Santa Claus

North Pole

I thought that maybe she was onto something.  Maybe I haven’t believed in a little over thirty years, but there is more to you than a one-night-a-year sleigh ride.  The spirit of you, Santa Claus, is alive all over the world, and if I composed a letter, too, maybe my hopes and dreams would come true, as well.

Now, I’d like to say as a 43-year-old woman, I understand that my wants are much greater than an eight-year-old’s.  She asked for an iPad-mini, and rumor has it, she has been on the good list this year and that she is probably going to get it!  Don’t worry, Santa, we explained to her that it is really hard for the elves to put all of those apps inside that tiny machine, so she probably would only get one or two more items under the tree.  God bless her heart, do you know what she said?  She said, “Well, Jesus only got three presents, so I guess that will be enough for me.”

Santa, I am not going to ask for a new garage door or glass-block windows for the basement.  Indubitably, it would be too much work to get the elves to install either of these items while you are here.  I understand; I will save for those items myself.  Also, I am not as materialistic as Sally or Lucy who thought the only happiness they could find would be in the banking or real estate markets.  I have found in recent years that unbeknownst to my younger self, happiness is not found in what I possess.  It is found in what I do, who I am, and with whom I share my time.

So I guess that leads me to what I really want more than anything in the world.  Santa, what I really want is for you to visit me in my dreams and give me inspiration and courage.  Since seventh grade, I have said that someday I would be a writer.  However, I am not, well, at least not a published writer, and I fear that if I try to write anything of substance, it will be rejected.  I need you to give me some good old fashion tenacity, mix in a little creativity, throw in a dash of vision, and maybe just maybe, I can get what I want for Christmas.  Yes Santa, what I want for Christmas is to see my name in print.  No, not just in the blogosphere world.  I want to be in real print, with ink and color and pages that when you lift them to your nose they smell slightly acidic but fresh and clean and people of all walks of life can come across my words and…

Well, you get the point.  If you are real, I know my dream will come true.  If not, well then you’re just the nice whiskered man who dons my wrapping paper and my door wreath.

I just want you to know that I want to believe as much as Lizzie does, and I will do everything in my power to be a good girl this year.  Please consider taking me off the naughty list.  I know a friend of yours, Buddy, and he once said, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.”

Well, Santa, if that’s what it takes!  I’m on it!

Merry Christmas, and thank you in advance for the consideration.

Love, Cheryl