Voices of the Ballgame

Baseball is a game of senses: the roar of the crowd. The crack of the bat. The smell of the popcorn. The feel of the worn leather mat. The green and browns of the field against a blue sky. The taste of Big League Chew, or a cold beer in the stands. Amidst the sounds the of the game, there is an undercurrent that I often participate in without ever hearing: the voices.

Last week at my son’s game I paid closer attention to those voices, marveling in the patterns and the encouragement I heard. This week, I took notes during one inning. Here’s the voices of the game as I heard them, sitting behind home plate and scribbling rapidly into my Field Notes notebook.

Top of the inning

“Batter up!

“Here you go buddy, eyes on the ball.”

“There you go! Run! Run! Run! Good hustle buddy.”

“Okay, coming to you.”

“Good cut. Straighten her out.”

“There you go! Alright!”

“Come on now!”

“Good cut. Keep your eyes on it. Hands to the ball.:”

“Nice cut, nice cut. Straighten her out.”

“That’s you. Protect that plate.”

“Let’s go. You got three coming.”

“Feet steady. Good try, good try.”

“Here you go. See it, hit it.”

“Here you go!”

Bottom of the inning

“Nice hard swing, buddy.”

“Alright, let’s get a rip big guy.”

“Batter up!”

“Grip it and rip it!”

“Get that bat back. Good hard swing.”

“Good eye!”

“Look at your feet. Square your feet.”

“You gotta swing at those. Good hard rip.”

“Let’s go now, defense. Go!”

“Play’s to third.”

“Let’s go. Let’s go.”

“Here we go, here we go. Stay in there.”

“Take a breath before you throw it. Slow down.”

“Set yourself, look at your target.”

“Nice out.”

About Jamie Todd Rubin

Jamie Todd Rubin writes fiction and nonfiction for a variety of publications including Analog, Clarkesworld, The Daily Beast, 99U, Daily Science Fiction, Lightspeed, InterGalactic Medicine Show, and several anthologies. He was featured in Lifehacker’s How I Work series. He has been blogging since 2005. By day, he manages software projects and occasionally writes code. He lives in Arlington, Virginia with his wife and three children. Find him on Twitter at @jamietr.