So my brother Julian calls today, and we’re talking about our trip to Tampa next week. “I’m thinking about bringing some baseballs,” he says.
For a moment I’m thinking, will we need gloves and bats, too? Then I realize, oh, for autographs…
“But there’s a problem,” he tells me. “If we want these to be the kind of baseballs that we can leave in our wills, if they are going to be worth anything, they have to be the official Major League Baseball.”
Leave in our wills? I think, but I say: “What’s the problem with that?”
The problem is, he can’t find them anywhere. All he can find are last year’s balls, which were back when the National and American leagues were not united under the office of the commissioner, and had separate baseballs signed by their league presidents. The new balls are all signed by the commissioner, and they aint’ got ’em yet at most of the sporting goods stores.
“I can mail order the new balls from the majorleaguebaseball.com web site, but they say it takes a week to ship.” By which time we will have been in Florida several days already, and if they are late, we’ll miss them entirely.
I should have guessed, I guess, that even the simplest thing like an autograph has to be an involved, vetted, tradition-bound thing in baseball.
“Maybe I should get some of last year’s balls, anyway,” he concludes. “But then, how many American League and how many National League balls…?”
“Or,” he says, “am I thinking about this too much?”
I think the season better start soon.
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