Brownies, Baseball, and Blake Bilyeu

I originally wrote this for a creative nonfiction class I took (with the wonderful Kathleen Finneran), but it’s perfect for today –Cardinals in the World Series, celebrating Blake’s 6th birthday at my parent’s house tonight, and making brownies for the occasion.

I apologize for the reoccurring subject of baseball.  If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m kind of crazy about it, so get used to reading about it.  😉

Boys are passionate about their sports.  I learned this from my nephew Blake when he was four and I was twenty-four.  Blake and I share a love of baseball.  He knows all the players on the Cardinals team, knows their numbers, their recent game-stopping plays, and heart-stopping injuries, and their facial hair fashions.  He likes to be interviewed as his favorite players.  He likes to replay their games, acting out Rick Ankiel’s collision with an outfield wall or Yadi’s spectacular come-from-behind-the-left-handed-batter-throw-to-first-tag-out of the foolishly unsuspecting base runner.

I love this kid.

One of my favorite moments discussing the finer points of the game with Blake was when he corrected me on a few particulars:  the black streaks players make under their eyes to help shield their eyes from the sun’s rays on bright days.  These come in a variety of thick lines, dabs, and even easily applied “pre-packaged” fake tattoo-like marks with logos or initials whited into them.  Not just some smears of dirt after all.  In fact, it’s not even dirt.

“No, Sarah,” Blake says.  “It’s not dirt.  It’s chocolate!”

When fruit snacks are substituted for chewing tobacco or bubble gum, I guess it’s alright for chocolate to be the appropriate face-wear.  Hey, if it’s a late afternoon game, come the seventh inning stretch when the sky is fading from pink to a hazy blue and the field lights have started attracting moths in droves, taking a finger to your cheek and cleaning the stuff off with your tongue doesn’t seem like a bad idea.  A kind of reward for making it this far.  Like licking the brownie batter off the spoon  right after you’ve put the pan in the oven.  You’re more than halfway there, but you’ve still got some work to do, cleaning out the mixing bowl and putting the ingredients away, waiting for the relief pitchers to do their job before success is fully tasted.  Mmmmm success.  Just like a bite of slightly gooey warm brownie.


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