EDEN PRAIRIE, MN—While stressing that he loves his 6-month-old son Jordan "more than life itself" and that fatherhood is "a whole new world opening up to you every day," 36-year-old Greg Henderson admitted Friday that he misses the days when baseball was merely an enjoyable game and not an almost endless collection of meaningful and profoundly significant life lessons.
"I've been a fan of the Twins as long as I can remember," Henderson said. "And it hasn't always been easy, either. But at least before Jordan was born it was an excuse to doze off in front of the television with a beer, not a metaphor-laden allegory for every single important thing in life."
Henderson claimed he first noticed baseball had become fraught with the weight of meaning just before pitchers and catchers reported for spring training late last month, an event that had once been a pleasant occasion for speculation and idle thought but had now been transformed into a ritual of rebirth, an example of the cyclical nature of life, and a powerful symbol of hope.
"I was looking over the Twins’ possible starting rotations while holding Jordy in my lap, wondering if being a dad would give me time to do the office fantasy baseball team this year, and I found myself telling him all about how life gives you new chances all the time, how it’s important to persist and keep trying, and suddenly I was moved to my soul," Henderson said. "It was really annoying, let me tell you. One little baseball article in the Star Tribune and I turned into Billy fucking Crystal."
While naturally preoccupied with the normal business of fatherhood, Henderson’s only baseball-related involvement with Jordan had, until recently, been limited to purchasing the baby a Twins onesie and cap and placing a small toy baseball in his crib. However, his perspective changed when Susan, Jordan’s mother, put the onesie and cap on the boy, who then began playing with the toy baseball.
"Suddenly all I could think of was having a catch with him while teaching him all the values of the game—the fundamental fairness, the way it rewards those who stick with it for the long haul, and how it’s a perfect blend of individual achievement and team play," said Henderson, recalling how he had also been flooded with memories of playing ball with his own father, who passed away in 2007 and would have loved to watch the Little League games in which Henderson now feels Jordan will surely participate, if not star. "This time last year, I was just talking with the guys about how awesome it was that Kent Hrbek was such an asshole."
"This is really pathetic," Henderson added.
As of press time, Henderson had reportedly found himself increasingly unable to separate the idea of baseball from the practice of fatherhood, going so far as to watch the 1989 Kevin Costner vehicle Field Of Dreams while cradling Jordan and muttering softly to the boy that, while he was far to young to understand it now, he would come to value everything the movie represented when he grew older.
"I really don’t know what’s wrong with me," Henderson added. "At this point, I can hardly wait for the meaningless brutality of football season so I can get back to just being a normal guy again.”