If you could pull up one of those Doppler maps and set it in motion, targeting only what’s moving centripetally toward Surprise, Arizona this weekend, by air or Interstate, carefully excluding anyone with Royals tags, maybe you’d see one pattern 6,000 miles in length, originating in Kobe City, Japan, and another a sixth that long from Monclova, Mexico, that one ending on the south side of the 15850 N. Bullard complex for the first time after six years on the north side.
A first-time handshake awaits, unless the two met in 2009 at Petco Park in Round Two of the last World Baseball Classic.
You’d spot another flight from Maracay, Venezuela, and one more 150 miles northwest from Willemsted, Curacao, with little brother tagging along on that one, not to mention their buddy Chris.
It’s a flight that probably takes as long as the drive from Las Vegas awaiting a 2014 Hall of Famer and also a couple kid third basemen, one of whom is on his way to Surprise for the first time and the other his third, though you can double it for both if you count Fall Instructs, which you should.
I guess it’s possible the former superstar pitcher offered the bonus baby a chance to ride shotgun, assuming everything was cool when the young slugger took his daughter to the Bishop Gorman High prom in May.
There are a couple young righthanders with big league designs who probably already hit the road from Virginia, one from Bristol and the other from Virginia Beach, and maybe they decided to fall in on I-40 behind a lefthander from Creedmoor, North Carolina, not a terrible idea.
But if you looked at the Doppler late Sunday night, there would have been two dots on the radar (not headed to Arizona for a few weeks) that didn’t move a muscle for a couple hours. You can only watch “Field of Dreams” with your kid for the first time once.
Lefthander Jeff Beliveau may remember his first drive to Surprise for a long time, but no more so than I’ll remember watching the movie for what was probably my 20th time but my eight-year-old’s first, about the field situated 170 miles from Principal Park in Des Moines, where Beliveau played his AAA games last year.
A film that reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again.
A good premise, I think, to take into this Rangers season that has so many experts pre-anointing not last year’s division champs but instead the team from Los Angeles.
Yes, these seasons that get erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. Every year one team and its fans cling to what was on that board, while the other 29 can’t wait to go at it again, maybe in a wholly different way, but maybe not. That part’s always debatable to a degree, and it’s that debate that helps get lots of us through those three and a half months without baseball, a cold stretch that’s coming now to its annual end.
Yes, the one constant through all the years has been baseball, if not a constant through the year at hand. This is one of those times of the year when it’s at its best.
You can turn in any direction on the Web this morning and read season previews, locally and otherwise. You can flip open your Bound Edition today, or thumb through it on a phone or a tablet, because those are the times we live in, but you can also reach for what’s so simple and timeless, step outside after these last few days of gray, squint like Doc at a sky so blue that it hurts your eyes just to look at it, and have a catch with your kid.