Upon giving my son his first glove

Baseball, while lonesome, is nothing like life.
Otherwise no one would play.

It doesn’t diminish you, rend you in quite the same way.
But it can diminish you.
It teaches you things about baseball,
Not about our vain grasps at some animal spark.

The metaphors, like metaphors, do not hold.
It need not take you away from something.
It need only be something.
Which it is.
It need only take you toward something.
Which it will.

So here’s your first glove.
Smell it. That won’t change much. Pound it.
Put it in the oven if it’s too stiff.
I mean that. (Ask before you do, though.)
Rip the ties tight with your teeth.
I remember that the best players would do that.

Keep a ball in it at night.
This is important for purposes of seasoning.
And liturgy.
One day it will feel like a dead hand.

I hope you’re better at this than I was.


(This piece originally appeared at FanGraphs. It has since been revised and made even worse, probably.)

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