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The Beauty of the Game

Durham Bulls Athletic Park; Durham NC; Photo by Sara D. Davis/Getty Images

It’s the fire in the belly; The steeled determination in the eyes; They haven’t accomplished anything yet

It’s the pull for their teammates; Some will become lifelong friends; They’re competing against them at the same time; For only a handful make it to the show

It’s the eagerness to sign their name to a plethora of items; Hats, gloves, jerseys, balls, programs; The spoils at the top have yet to render them inaccessible; Nobody cared this much at their high school games

It’s the conversations in the dugout, the clubhouse; Some appropriate, most not; The card games during the long, overnight bus rides

It’s the few daily dollars for fast food; Still kids-Burgers, pizza, and fries do not betray them yet

It’s the summer of being a Mud Hen, a Wildthing, a Rumble Pony

It’s the smells of the ballpark, the crack of the bat, loosening up on the field; In Midwest Americana, the Deep South, the Pacific West; Lansing, Birmingham, Sacramento

It’s the mascots, the sack races, the hula hoop competitions

It’s Mrs. Johnson in Section 8, Row A; She’s been coming here for 43 years; It’s the hopeful youngsters pleading at anyone in their vicinity holding a baseball; One day, some of them will be out here

It’s our greatest game in its purist form; So close to glory, yet never having been pampered by it; It’s a game still being played by kids who would rather be doing nothing else; Most will not make it, but that matters little right now; Responsibility will have to wait

There’s nothing in this world like Minor League Baseball