Image: A game at the Las Vegas Ballpark, 1/20/2019.
I’m writing tonight from the Las Vegas Ballpark, where the Sacramento River Cats are playing the Las Vegas Aviators.
Never heard of them? This is minor league baseball, AAA to be precise, the world of Bull Durham, if you’re a baseball movie aficionado. The Aviators are a farm team for the Oakland Athletics. The River Cats are affiliated with the San Francisco Giants. Subtext is strong here.
What does this have to do with Torah? Baseball, like Torah, contains worlds. It is a metaphor for everything. In baseball, the home team plays the outsiders – it’s deeply tribal – but everyone’s worst instincts are constrained by the Rulebook (mitzvot.) Bats are for hitting balls, not heads.
Baseball, well played, is a form of meditation. The more perfectly everyone does their job, the less happens. A completely perfect game would go on forever.
Fortunately it is also a deeply human game, and imperfections abound. They keep the crowd from falling asleep, but it is in the workings-out of imperfection that joy abounds.
I love baseball, especially minor league baseball. The ballparks are human size, and admission is cheap enough that whole families attend together. The lady sitting next to me might be 80, and if she had her way the Aviators would win. Alas, they seem to excel only in interesting imperfections tonight.
Blessed are You, Eternal our God, who has implanted in human hearts the love of games!