OPENING DAY PAGES OF THE PAST: Off The Wall, and Baseball Jonesing In The Season Of Quarantine

Written three years ago during the depths of a grey quarantine quagmire that killed baseball’s annual Opening Day, this reflection on the days and games gone by helped me weather a bleak season without that rich tapestry of diversions — the first in my six-decade lifetime. Thankfully now, as we head into Opening Day 2023, it appears we’ve mostly emerged from that dark tunnel of imposed isolation and suspension of normal daily life. The act of writing this piece provided a comforting balm to me then — briefly filled in, through colorful memory and remembered sound, the yawning absence of the game. From my current vantage point, waiting amid the warming sun and crisp air for the first pitch of a brand new season, it feels like a lighter, brighter affirmation. A reminder of what continues to hold fast and strong amid the changes and uncertainties and setbacks all around us: the myriad ways we’re connected, as fans and followers, to the game. As as well as the intrinsic, circuitous, poetically unpredictable, and even occasionally magical, ways the game connects to us — and sometimes, even the destiny of our lives.

RPM: Jonathan Perry's Life in Analog

IMG_4901Pining for an Opening Day and a season that (so far) is not to be calls for truly drastic measures. With the COVID-19 virus waylaying any sense of normalcy or structure to our lives, including the simple, life-affirming act of watching the game of baseball, I’ve settled on the next best thing to keep the jonesing at bay: sorting through my stash of vintage baseball ephemera.redsoxmediaguides

And by vintage I mean the stuff I’ve collected since the days way before any current major league ballplayer was born (unless Julio Franco makes a comeback): Namely, my 1970s baseball cards, assorted Boston Red Sox yearbooks and programs, and vintage ticket stubs dating back to the first years my dad began taking my brother and me to Fenway Park.soxtix

Among the saved items I’ve hit upon is something that informed (and took a good chunk of) my adolescence: a pen-and-paper-produced collection of baseball…

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