There is a color, green, that fades out of the rainbow for several months.
Its return is a thing of beauty.
It floats back to life on a wisp of fresh, light air, and all of a sudden you realize it is this green that you've missed for too long.
It is the green of a baseball diamond, not the artificial kneetearing, crazy-bounce-inspiring turf of a concrete stadium but the real grass of a real park.
The grass that's the first thing you see when you come out of the tunnels under Fenway Park, even before the rest of your senses are assaulted, overloaded with spring.
Before the crack of Pesky's bat hitting infield practice or the smell of cigar that for some reason is only tolerable here or the damp, salty, Fenway frank or the shove for autographs around the dugout, it's the green that hits you, and your eyes that tell you that you're back.
The ball is a crisp white as it scuttles across the field, the color transcending shape, transcending time.
Fungoes drift to the outfielders it doesn't have to be 1985, it could be Bill Campbell out in the triangle making one of his behind the back catches with a multi colored spattering of shirts in the bleachers behind him.
It could be Rick Burleson at short, the red, navy and white uniform lithe on his body and distinct against the warm brown of the basepath.
It could be Bernie Carbo tossing the warmup ball into the gold reflected shine of the blue and red box seats, pepper finished for the day, while the pitchers ramble out to the bullpen.
Why are they here, these Red Sox of other days, why is it that they seem to belong at Fenway despite being dispersed to other teams other leagues, other careers?
They belong at Fenway, and you belong at Fenway, because there is a unity of fan and player and place that is the Boston Red Sox--more than won-lost records or World Championships ever could be.
Hope needs no titles to feed upon, no instigation to return every year since 1918, with the conviction that this season will be the one.
In the Boston squad of '85, in the pleasure of the Rice, Stanley, and Boggs signings, lies the essence of the unity.
These new Sox, Barrett and Nicholas and Ojeda: what are they if not reincarnations of those you cheered in '75, Doyle and Lynn and Tiant, and of those your parents cheered, Doerr and Williams and Parnell?