Those Hot Summer Nights

What Baseball Means to Me

One in a series honoring Spring, and with it, the opening of baseball season.

“To me, baseball has always been a reflection of life. Like life, it adjusts. It survives everything.”                                                                                                                                                – Willie Stargell/Pittsburgh Pirates

A Minor League All Star game at Billy Hebert Field, Stockton, California in about 1986 or so.
Since the mid-eighties we’ve taken our daughters to Stockton Ports games at Billy Hebert Field. Carol, Pearl and finally Alexis. First, as babes in arms. Then, as toddlers laboriously climbing the stands or strutting around near the fence. Then, as excited girls trying to get autographs from the players. Those hot summer nights drew us together as family.
Our girls grew up and moved on with their own lives and the Ports moved from Billy Hebert Field to their current home at Banner Island Ballpark.
In 2021 change happened. A pandemic threatened life as usual to the extent that nearly everything shut down. Including professional sports. In fact, all sports. From sandlot pickup games, to organized Little League, to the Minor and Major Leagues.  
One thing to note is that fans – hundreds and thousands and millions of individuals – make up the lifeblood of baseball at all levels. Without their support baseball would die. During the past year the pandemic brutally cut the ties between sports and fans. No tickets sold, no lifeblood. No income.
Once again it is Spring and with Spring comes another season of hope and baseball. With the pandemic slowly being beaten back there is hope of at least some interaction between the fans and their sport.
I had the opportunity recently to visit Banner Island Ballpark. Dredging up memories, I roamed the grounds hoping to hear the snap of bats hitting balls and crowds roaring. Unfortunately that was all in my mind as the team doesn’t arrive until May. 
Memories survive and bring hope…and hope, like Spring, is eternal.
–Cyndy Green

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