The first moment it really felt like summer

Summer is felt not in furious action, but in the almost motionless intervals BETWEEN actions...

Last night, I went to a Chamber of Commerce “Business After Hours” reception out at the ballpark before the Blowfish game. As I told Ike McLeese, it was the first time I’d been there since the Bombers days.

And there was for me, as the sun was lowering to a more acute angle in the west, and the ballplayers were warming up and wandering about lazily the way they do before a game, with their uniforms still clean and fresh, and the markings on the red clay of the infield still white and clear, and the smell of the grass, a sort of magic moment. Something like what Ray Liotta (as a very unconvincing Shoeless Joe Jackson) was getting at in “Field of Dreams” when he talked about “the ball park in my nose, the cool of the grass on my feet… The thrill of the grass,” and observed, “Man, I did love this game. I’d have played for food money. It was the game… The sounds, the smells. Did you ever hold a ball or a glove to your face?”

It was like that, one of those hard-to-define, quintessentially American moments of anticipation. Like the time I was at a Braves game, and Greg Maddux was wandering about back and forth slowly on the mound during a commercial break, with nothing happening on the field, staring absently at the ground, and the P.A. system was playing “Strawberry Fields Forever”… OK, maybe not exactly like that, but you know, transcendental…

It was, among other things, the moment that it first felt like summer to me. Yeah, I know we’ve had really hot weather the last week or two, and I also realize that according to the calendar it’s not technically summer, but for me, this was when it started.

Summer is felt not in furious action, but in the almost motionless intervals between actions…

These iPhone photos don’t perfectly capture it, but I thought I’d share them anyway.

I framed this one this way because I liked that kid's hat. And the two nonplayers lounging against this side of the fence...

11 thoughts on “The first moment it really felt like summer

  1. bud

    The old Capitol City ballpark sure is a dump. Why don’t you try and catch some of the USC games against UCONN. Now that would be a real summer experience.

  2. Kathryn Fenner (D- SC)

    Dunno–it’s been feeling a lot like summer to me for about a month now…
    Famously hot!

  3. Matt Bohn

    I wad at the home opener and had a great time. I plan on going to more games this summer with my kids. I’m glad the Blowfish brought summer baseball back to Columbia.

  4. Cicero

    Bud, Capitol City ballpark may not be on par with the new USC stadium, but it’s still not a bad place to see a game. And it beats not being able to see baseball at all.

  5. Phillip

    Bud, there’s one critical ingredient available at Capital City ballpark that is essential to the true baseball experience that one cannot get at Carolina Stadium, and that is beer. Also, you gotta love that you can bring your dog to the game on certain days.

    We love going to Blowfish games, but I still wish the Bombers hadn’t left and that we had at least single-A ball here in Cola.

  6. Doug Ross


    The Richland County Council will raise the hospitality tax to pay $750K for renovations to Woodrow Wilson’s boyhood home.

    Several years ago they rejected a deal with developer MB Kahn to put a minor league stadium out in the Sandhills area.

    Which one would be a bigger draw to more people and have a greater residual impact on the economy?

  7. Phillip

    …and echoing Cicero’s point, another thing Capital City Stadium has over Carolina Stadium (assuming one agrees that baseball is an inextricable part of summer) is that baseball is, uh, actually taking place there in the summer. If the Gamecocks weren’t usually good enough to get to host an NCAA regional and often advance, Carolina Stadium would be empty and silent by Memorial Day. Even so, regardless of how they fare against UConn, that’s it for baseball there for the next 8 months.


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