It is day 1000 of the virus hostage situation. Or so it seems. The regular baseball season should be well under way. MLB is apparently waiting until 327 million of us are infected and distracted before it will announce that instead of punishing the Red Sox that they are allowing the Yankees, Dodgers and Red Sox to hold a draft where they can take one great player from each team, but not pay for them. It is gloomy and rainy outside. I need an upper. So today’s tome will be a bit cathartic. That doesn’t look like it is spelled correctly, but I’m too tired and cranky to look it up.
Ten things I love about baseball:
- I love that it is timeless, both as a game and when it comes to every game. I have never felt quite as exhilarated as staying up forever for Game 5 of the 2017 World Series and it did not matter what time it was when it ended.
- I love that so much of it stays with me over time. It is so memorable. When MLB network broadcast the Astros 1986 Game 6 NLCS against the Mets the other night, I was texting my kids on what to watch for. Even though it was heartbreaking as a game, I will never forget Billy Hatcher’s foul pole shot to tie it in the 14th. Never.
- I love that it comes around every year (but this one) like a flower that blooms annually. It is new and different every year, but it has been a constant for 6 months out of every year.
- I love that it is played by “mostly” men that are not unusually sized or built like basketball and football players are. Alex Bregman, Craig Biggio, Jose Altuve are top notch players, but are not in the top 10% of physical specimens.
- I love that baseball can be played on so many different stages. Maybe some folks find it annoying, they may think that football and basketball which have exacting field and court dimension have it right. But I love a sport that has a place for the Astrodome and Fenway Park and Forbes Field and the Polo Grounds and Minute Maid Park and both Yankee Stadiums and Wrigley Field.
- I love that baseball was a sport that lent itself so well to radio back when I was just learning about it. My nights spent with the transistor radio listening to Gene Elston and Loel Passe informed my love and knowledge of this game.
- I love that baseball could be enjoyed even when the teams I cheered for were not that good. Sure, it is more fun when the team you are cheering for is going deep into the playoffs. But there was never a season when there were not fun games, come from behind games, terrifically pitched games.
- I loved that baseball is able to combine the mano to mano of pitcher vs hitter in the middle of a team game. It is somewhat unique in that regard.
- I love that baseball means the sound of bat on ball, ball on glove, the rising wave of sound as a game reaches a climax or the unbelievable constant din of a playoff game. I love the bright green of the grass, the tan of the dirt, the bright white of the foul lines, and the tier over tier of the stands rising like a cathedral. I love how it fills all of your senses.
- I love that baseball has led me to tie two of my loves – sports and writing – into one fanatic lovefest. This is always a joy.
What do you love about baseball?