The sun beats down on me. Out of the corner of my eye I can just make out triple digit degrees along the bottom of the big screen in the outfield. I can feel the heat tightening my edges, imagine it slowly bleaching the royal blue neckline of my jersey, fading the lines and shadows of my toothy perma-smile.
Small, white-shirted men run out onto the field, then swiftly retreat to a catchy tune. Those are the best moments, when music fills the stadium and ever-so-briefly the desolate veil of my situation lifts.
Navy men replace the white-shirted fellas, but retreat nearly as swiftly.
They swap again, and again, and again.
The crack of the bat ricochets off of us, echoing through the cavernous field. A small, navy-shirted figure streaks to the wall in right centerfield, stretching a minuscule glove up, up, up. He lands and catapults the ball back towards us, towards the infield.
I cut my eyes quickly to Sparky on my left and we share a look dismay. No jaunty tune this time. His dark eyes are obscured almost entirely by fuzzy curls atop his head and covering his snout. I’m not sure how much he really gleans of the game, but his tracking of the ball is excellent. ‘Ol Spark is still better than Georgie on my right, though, whose bulbous eyes, nearly consumed by enormously chubby cheeks, gaze blankly at the sky.
Back and forth the navy and white men exchange places. A handful of times a small navy figure sprints on the brown dirt between the green. A few more times it’s a white-shirted figure.
There isn’t much music today.
In the early days, my sentience felt like a blessing. Everything was new, and my eyes drunk in everything within range. One time, a gust of wind blew through the stadium and some of us were swept out of our seats. As we were airborne, if we timed it just right, we were able to totter down the row, teetering back and forth from bottom left point to bottom right point.
But then they strapped us in, tightening thin, plastic bands around our middles, and I began to realize the days were all the same. Men run onto the field, men run off of the field. Sometimes they stay there for a long time, other times - like today - they seem to flee. Some days they wear a bright blue that matches my own, and others wear splashes of red, or orange, or purple.
But the worst days are when the men disappear altogether. I stare out, out, out into the abyss of the stadium.
I’m one of the lucky ones, I suppose, in my spot up behind home plate. If I strain my eyes as far left and right as they can go, I can see most of the action, though I’m too far to discern specifics. Almost directly opposite me, across the vast swaths of green and brown, I can just barely make out a similar crowd. They may as well be floating among the clouds.
Soon, the lights on the field will go out. But my eyes will stay open.