October means baseball…-related dreams

It was early in spring training, perhaps the very first day, for the Cubs. I was standing at about shortstop position, albeit in front of the infield dirt, fielding ground balls that were being softly hit to me.

I looked down to see that I was wearing a blue Cubs jersey and that my number was either 36 or 38. (You may note that the blue Cubs jerseys don’t actually have numbers on the front, and that both 36 and 38 are currently in use by actual Cubs players.)

I was slow getting to a ball, and by the time I reached it, someone had already thrown the pitcher a new ball. I kept trying to kick the ball away, but it only went a very short distance no matter how hard I kicked it.

Then they opened the gates of the stadium and I stood in a small group of players in the infield — one of whom was hanger-on Maura while a group of fans walked over to us. The first fan to reach us was a woman who shook everyone’s hand. Behind her was another woman to whom I said, “Happy new year!”, which made her giggle. (Now that I’ve thought about it, that is exactly what baseball players should say to fans at the beginning of spring training!)

At that point, the first woman turned back to me to say that she’d been looking for the song “Stand Up for Peoria” by either Jane Rogers or Jane Douglas. I mumbled something noncommittal. Once that woman went away, I reached down to get the notebook that was lying on the

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ground at my feet. I opened it and pointed out to Maura that I had it on my list of CDs I’d like to buy used. I started wondering how, even if I found that song, I was going to get a copy of it to that woman. (Peoria is home to a Cubs minor-league team. I am impressed by that association being in the dream.)

Then I woke up and it was about

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a half hour until my alarm was set to go off.

A troubling thing here is that, although the playoffs are about to begin — with my team in them — my

subconscious is already looking forward to spring training, and thinking about a non-playoff team.

Recent baseball dreams

The following are all baseball-related dreams I’ve had in the past month. Seriously: the past month–a month in which there has been no baseball.

1 The Cardinals won the 2009 World Series. For some reason, I watched it all at Chuck E. Cheese. When I woke up, I was really happy for nearly a minute before realizing it was a dream; at that point, I began to ponder whether a world championship would really be worth sitting in Chuck E. Cheese for upwards of 20 hours.

2 I was watching the 1982 World Series. In the top of the first inning, Andy Van Slyke–who, my waking self knows, was not on that team–hit a double. He had long braids dangling beyond the back of his helmet, like many a football lineman. In the bottom of the first inning, the first two Brewers made outs, and then their third hitter came to the plate . . . and he was Darth Vader. Vader’s a lefty, and–I hate to say this about one of the universe’s greatest villains, but he’s got a sweet stroke. He hit a double, and as he slid into second, his cape flew behind him beautifully.

3 The Cardinals were having trouble re-signing Jason LaRue. This was one of those dreams that you forget about until reality reminds you: I read an article the next day about the Cards re-signing LaRue, and for a moment I was perplexed. Then the wisps of dream came back to me–and made me feel like the lamest person in the universe. I mean, the dude’s facial hair and hygiene are nothing less than wonders of the universe, but what it boils down to is the sad fact that I had a dream about the contract status of a backup catcher. I swear my life is better and more fulfilling than that fact would make you think.

And this is all without even getting into the dream I had about Vinegar Joe Lieberman Sunday night!

A new way to think about outfield defense

As pitchers and catchers are finally in camp, rather than hanging out at the Capitol trying to decide exactly how stupid Chris Shays is, I thought I should share the baseball-related dream I had the other night–from which I woke up laughing.

I was at Fenway, following David Letterman around on a videotaped tour, and I learned two things.

First, from where we were standing (in the press box?), I was able for the first time to see why Manny Ramirez is such a bad fielder. Turns out that outside the foul line in left, just off-camera, where you can’t ever see him either live or on the broadcasts, there’s a hobo who’s always standing there badgering Manny for money. And Manny’s too nice to have security get rid of him. Who knew?

Second, there’s a giant apple in a hat just outside the outfield wall. Letterman asked Baseball Related Program Activities Hanger-on (and MLB employee) Dan Rivkin, “So, I know the one at Shea, when it goes up, it’s because the Mets have hit a home run. What does this one mean?”

“Well, Dave,” said Dan. “This one’s about government. When it goes up in the air, everyone in, like, Congress, and the Vice President and President, they all have to resign. And then the 37 Amazing Dudes, who’ve been sitting patiently on the bench for like years and years, they take over.”

That’s when I laughed out loud and woke up. It made a tiny bit more sense in my dream. The 37 Amazing Dudes were presented as if they were just this ordinary group we all knew about.

Let’s play ball.

I walk without a cut through a stained-glass wall

Last night, I dreamed that Levi, Stacey, and I had gone to a ballgame in Cincinnati. We’d parked across the Ohio River in Kentucky (knowing me, that was my decision, both for the “fun” of being able to park in another state and because the parking is cheaper over there), and were following the crowd to the stadium, but the crowd was for some reason walking parallel to the shoreline; we passed up at least a couple of bridges, and I woke up before we’d made it to the game.

Also, Levi was wearing his bathrobe in the car, but fortunately changed clothes somehow before we started walking to the stadium. Along the way, he complained that his naps are better when he’s wearing daytime clothes.

Now, I do very much enjoy the company of Levi and Stacey, but as long as I was dreaming, why couldn’t, for example, Caroline Dhavernas have been with us? Well, she probably wouldn’t have been too happy about us not getting across the river.

P.S.: I guess Great American Ballpark is the only MLB stadium that’s within reasonable walking distance of another state. I can think of a few where you can take public transportation from another state (both New York stadiums, both Chicago stadiums, Citizens Bank Park, and Busch Stadium) and one that’s fairly easy to get to from another country via a combination of walking and public transportation (Petco Park).

How long and dreary is the night?

Said the poet Burns:

How long and dreary is the night,
When I am frae my dearie!
I sleepless lie frae e’en to morn,
Tho’ I were ne’er so weary:
I sleepless lie frae e’en to morn,
Tho’ I were ne’er sae weary!

But even the poet Burns would surely be feeling a bit more of the vim and vigour these days, what with photos of ballplayers in the paper once more.

The rites of spring are upon us: sportswriters in such brackish backwaters as Kansas City and Milwaukee are dusting off their hopeful columns from last spring, Ozzie Guillen is running down his list of former White Sox to run down in the media, and the news that Matthew Wade Stairs has shed both his belly and his mullet is, well, news. If St. John of the Cross were here in my office with me, warming his long-dead insides on a pre-work coffee while we gazed out at the sub-freezing winter wasteland that is Chicago in March, we’d probably find ourselves in general agreement that the dark night of the soul is giving ground to dawn.

I had two dreams of baseball last week. In the first, I simply listened to a WGN broadcast of a Cubs game. Low on action for a dream, maybe, but hearing Pat Hughes‘s voice again after these many months made me wish for extra innings and maybe even a rain delay. Alas, I got my alarm instead.

Later in the week, I dreamed that I was cycling to Wrigley for Opening Day. The game was to start in ten minutes, and I was halfway there. But I was only wearing a t-shirt and pants. No jacket. No hat. No gloves. No mittens. No long underwear. No balaclava. No battery-powered heating socks. No seal oil with which to protect my face from chapping. I was torn: should I return home to properly prepare for the first game of the cruelest month at Wrigley, guaranteeing that I’d miss the first pitch? Or should I proceed to the game, more or less guaranteeing that my death from exposure would be a lead story on WGN that night?

Instead of choosing, I woke up.

Actual games are on tap for today, though Opening Day is still a ways away. But we can surely be patient now, even through the heavy hours. The poet Burns reminds us:

How slow ye move, ye heavy hours,
As ye were wae and weary!
It wasna sae ye glinted by,
When I was wi’ my dearie!
It wasna sae ye glinted by,
When I was wi’ my dearie!

A baseball dream

I’ll write later this week about our Montreal weekend, which featured at least a couple of points of interest to baseballrelated fans, but today I’m busy with work, so I’ll just share the dream I had right before waking this morning.

I was dreaming about the Cubs/Marlins doubleheader today. The Marlins announced their starting lineup for game one:
Leading off: a sesame red bean ball
Batting second: a cute, furry kitten
Batting third: Stacey

I thought to myself, “But . . . but . . . but . . . those aren’t major-league ballplayers! The Marlins are throwing this game!”

Then I woke.
Now, I love eating a sesame rice ball, and I love petting a cute, furry kitten, and I love playing catch with Stacey. But my dream thought was right: none of those is a major-league-quality ballplayer.

Marlins should be announcing their starting lineup for game one in minutes. You heard it here first.

Original comments…

thatbob: Wait, were Mike Piazza and Ichiro Suzuki playing for the Expos, too? Because maybe they decided to field Stacey’s All Cuite Team for a change.

None of them may be major-league quality players (except Piazza), but any one of them (except Suzuki) could get me to switch my allegiance from the Cubs to the Expos. And I bet the cute, furry kitten pulls a lot of walks, but I doubt (s)he’s as good at fielding as a certain canine playing shortstop somewhere up in St. Paul.

Dan: You’re goddamn right about Snoopy.

stacey: aw bob, i’m not on the all cute team! that’s just silly.

levi, i have to say that i’m disappointed it that it took the mention of MY NAME to bring you to your senses. sure, a sesame ball can lead off, followed by a furry kitten. but once they mention your wife, you suddenly realize it’s a bad idea?

thatbob: Stace, I just figured you’d be the manager of your All Cute Team, which I think means you could put yourself in if the situation, or cuteness, required.

Levi: I think it was Cap Anson (and if it wasn’t, it should have been) who a couple of times, as player/manager, announced himself as entering a ballgame just in time that he could hop off the bench and catch a foul popup that was headed his way.

Rules–those damnable things–now prevent such action.

I hope this is anxiety, not premonition

I just dreamed that we overslept and then dawdled and missed the second stop on this trip. However, I clearly don’t have our itinerary locked in my subconscious, since the dream was set at my aunt and uncle’s house in the Philadelphia suburbs, and we were late to Toronto. But what my subconscious did get right is that after I said to Levi something to the effect of, “It’s 4:00, so it’s too late for us to get to Toronto,” he swore loudly.

All was not lost, though, because I then grabbed the laptop and started looking up the NY-Penn League schedules. The dream ended before we made it to a game, but I’d like to think we did get to see some baseball.

The worst part of having this dream is that it was disturbing enough that I’m wide awake way too early after going to bed late last night (for those who don’t have this entire blog memorized, the posts here are being stamped in Central time, but I’m living on Pacific time).

Return of The Shooter

I just remembered: I dreamed last night that I met Rod Beck at Simon’s! He was sitting at the bar, in street clothes, having a Schlitz. He was as shaggy as usual, but he’d added a Burl Ives-style beard, of all things. Didn’t look too good on him.

We talked for a minute about baseball. I was polite and didn’t ask him about the unspecified personal problems that have kept him off the Padres roster since late in Spring Training.

It was a pleasant dream. Here’s wishing The Shooter well in dealing with whatever he’s going through. I want to see that arm dangle again, preferably while he’s shutting down, say, Houston.