Think baseball hasn't impacted our country? Take flight and count the diamonds.

When it comes to travel, flying has never been my first choice.


Hearing the captain say things like “final descent” and announce that we’re thousands upon thousands of feet off the ground just isn’t the best feeling in the world for me.


I know it’s the quickest way to travel, but I prefer my chances in a bus, car, train or boat before I take to the heavens in an invention that has claimed the life of many great people.


Roberto Clemente and Patsy Cline are the first two I can think of right off the bat. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t fly.


It was always my emergency means of travel during my college days at Northwest Missouri State and during my inaugural year and a half into professional journalism working and living in Texas — just incase I had to get to St. Louis quickly to be with family.


Tuesday, however, I hit the skies for the first time in a long time to get some aerial photographs of Hannibal’s historic Clemens Field. I hitched a ride from a flight instructor and his student at the Hannibal Regional Airport. And next to the dizziness and brief spills of nausea, I came to realize a few things as I looked down to the earth, but one thing in particular.


Baseball has impacted our culture, our lives, and most of all embedded itself into our land.


Sailing through the air taking as many pictures of Hannibal as I could, it was hard not to miss those dirt diamonds that glow so beautifully in the morning sun.


There was the diamond at Veterans Field, the diamond at Huckleberry Park, the diamonds at the other parks and complexes and of course the greatest diamond of them all at Clemens Field.


It really got me thinking about how baseball has impacted our way of life here in America.


Just about everywhere you look in this country, in city parks, on high school and college campuses, even on the lawn of the White House, you’re going to find a baseball diamond.


Like the stories of our grandfathers, baseball is passed down through generations. It is rich in history, rich in stories, rich in our hearts and rich in our American culture.


Clearly if it wasn’t special in some regard, our parks and recreational areas would be nothing but grass and asphalt.


Can you imagine a park without a baseball diamond? I can’t.


It is on these diamonds that we share the common bond with our fathers and grandfathers, it is in these parks where we make memories, it is the great stories and moments that only baseball can provide that let our heroes, our family members, our friends, live forever, even long after they’re gone.


Next time you take a flight, you’ll see what I mean.


Hannibal (Mo.) Courier-Post