The first thing I learned about baseball is this: If you raise your hand a man will bring you food. I learned this at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, and in my first year as a fan I spent most of the game facing the wrong way. Raise my hand, get ice cream, raise my hand, get popcorn, raise my hand, get peanuts. It was 1958.
Later, I understood it was a game. On summer afternoons I’d beg my brothers to take me to the ball park. I was falling in love with baseball.
If baseball has taken hold of you too, you know it’s about more than your team winning. Sport, like religion, offers consolations: A diversion from our daily routine, heroic examples to admire, and a sense of conflict in which nobody dies.