Tuesday, May 22, 2012

My Own "Field of Dreams"

"Field of Dreams" from our balcony

Sarah and I have lived in our current apartment for nearly 7 years, having moved here in October of 2005. There are days when it has its challenges from noise and other bad behaviour but the one thing we will never grow tired of is the view from here. We are 20 storeys up over Stan Wadlow Park and the only tall building around for a couple of kilometres, so we can see Lake Ontario and all the way across to Niagara Falls - on a clear day we can see the Skylon from our balcony.

Full-moon at dusk with the ballpark already under lights
The park below us is a beautiful vista in all seasons (particularly so in the fall, of course) but because we moved into our unit in October it wasn't until the next spring when baseball returned to the hardball diamond directly east of us - and, in particular, night baseball - that the magnificence of that diamond truly showed itself to us. The ballfield is lit up every night until quite late and it is an absolutely stunning sight to behold against the dark background of the tree-lined valley and empty fields around it. On particularly dark nights it almost appears to be floating in mid-air while all around it is pitch black. With the windows open or if we are sitting on the balcony we can hear the wonderful sound of bat on ball and the shouts and cheers of the players and fans. It is a very calming grouping of noises and I try to make a point of spending at least a couple of minutes watching and listening every night before bed.

The "floating" ballpark from a slightly longer-range perspective

The lights are still on now as I write this post and I can see them from my window. And the moment I tapped the period key for that previous sentence, *poof*, the field was plunged into darkness for the night. I feel, inexplicably, an almost palpable sense of loss each time those lights go off, as if another day has passed into history, never to be seen again. There's a real sense of finality to the turning off of the lights and I find myself sitting here wishing for them to come back on, if only for a few minutes.

A second diamond in the park has been given new, extremely bright lights this summer and I don't care for it. Rather than doubling the pleasure of the "Field of Dreams", I find they detract from the overall mood of the tableau that we view from our home. Thankfully the new lights are turned off a long time before the original set and we are given back the beauty that I first fell in love with.

Stan Wadlow Park in full daylight
The park is beautiful, as I mentioned, in the fall. It's stunning under a blanket of snow, or through misty fog, or at the first light of dawn. But there is something about the glowing, other-worldly vision that we see every rainless night in the spring and summer that I will never forget even when we are long transplanted from this place.

I almost expect the ghosts of ballplayers past to come up out of the wooded valley some night and start to play. It wouldn't surprise me at all.


  1. There is something very poetic about the empty, lit baseball field at night. The stillness of a space that is normally very active and full of people is quite haunting. I love your final paragraph, it sums up exactly how I imagine this too.

    1. That's an excellent point too, Sar. It's almost like they have left the lights on after they have left as an offering to the spirits. Thanks!

  2. I have a few roles at the East York Baseball Association (including coach, tournament organizer, and executive member) but I've never heard anyone come anywhere as close to describing the magic of our park than you do right here. Thank you.

    1. Thank you so much, Liam! And thank you also for the many hours of work you put into making the EYBA such a success for so many kids (and their parents).

      I wrote another piece later in the summer entitled "'Jays Care' Indeed!" about the outstanding work the Jays Care Foundation did in Stan Wadlow. I think you might like it as well!


      Grumpy P


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