Posted by: toddzilla | March 2, 2007

Why I love Baseball…

Spring training is here!  Arguably, the best time of year.  The country is beginning to see the light at the end of the “winter” tunnel and anticipating what I heard this morning…birds chirping!  You start to feel the sun’s warmth and the grass greening up.  All this is preceded by “pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training”.   Stay tuned for my teams I love and teams I strongly dislike post…maybe I can cheese off some baseball fans like I did with some college football fans earlier.

Back to my post…My grandfather played baseball, my mom (his only child) has an Eddie Matthews card in her jewelry box.  My father, a Yankees fan from way back (he must have been the only Yanks fan in Pittsboro, so I’ll give him a pass on that one).  A regret in my life…is that I didn’t keep playing.  I guess my lack of athletic ability had something to do with that.

I know, I know baseball isn’t as thrilling as football or basketball, but it’s a wonderful combination of skill, physicality, and gamesmanship that blends together on a field under beautiful skies and at a pace that allows itself to sink in.  But it gets pretty intense with a late inning rally, a man in scoring position, a full count, and a roaring crowd.  Do I pitch him inside like the other strikes or should I go low and outside to trip him up?  If it’s David Justice at the plate…low and outside every time!

Anyway, I often try to imagine what an afternoon game was like in the 40’s or 50’s watching Lou Gehrig or Joe D or Sandy Koufax on a spring afternoon.  I imagine it was just as much fun ad dropping $9 for a first baseline seat at the Durham Bulls game on any given Saturday sitting next to a good buddy or my wife.

My grandfather was a Cincinnati Reds fan and boy did he not like the Yanks!  I was blessed to be able to watch the Reds pull out a World Series win over Oakland (I despised Oakland at the time…that goes along with my evolving dislike for dominant teams).  I remember calling him that night to congratulate him.  The last thing I ever did with my grandfather was watch a Yanks-Toronto game on the TV in his hospital room.  Yes, we were both pulling for Toronto that night.  They won.  A few days later, I lost.

Well, that’s why I love baseball.  That and Wrigley Field, Josh Gibson (the Black Babe Ruth even though he had like 200 more homers), The Mick, Fernando Valenzuela, Pete Gray, Ivy, Stats, Git yer’ program, Bartman, Buckner, and the Little League World Series. 

so, even though, I’m very disappointed with their Yankees-esque spending spree…Go Cubs!

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Responses

  1. I can’t wait for baseball season to start. Baseball is a thinking sport, because there is constant maneuvering and strategies that can just take over a game, like when to hit and run, or steal, or pinch hit. I love this game.

    Of course, being the fact that my team won the title last year helps as well. But I’m concerned about the Cardinals’ rotation going into this season. We’re pulling our pack-up reliever, who is better than the reliever in my opinion, into the starting rotation. We lost a lot of guys in the free agency market. Of course, they have the bats, but I would have loved to see a solid pitcher pick-up. Then again, I heard the Cardinals are interested in talking to Roger Clemmens. Now that would be interesting.

  2. Yes, I totally agree, the best time of the year is upon us…pitchers and catchers report is definitely music to baseball fans’ hears. In my opinion, however, I wouldn’t say that baseball isn’t as thrilling as football or basketball…It’s just a matter of taste. For me, I certainly find more thrilling features in baseball, such as a rally-killing double play, a triple down the line, a strike three call in a key situation, a game winning homerun, the catcher looking towards the dugout when the pitcher runs out of gas…the list is endless!
    Yes, baseball is a thinking man’s game but also a game of power speed and agility. There’s something for everyone!
    Best regards

  3. Julien-

    Thanks for stopping by!

    You are totally right…baseball can be very thrilling. It is a great combination of intelligence with pitch selection at different stages of the count or even pitching matchups (lefty versus righty in certain situations) and the instant and overwhelming thrill of a liner or homer deep in the count or at a crucial time in the game. One moment, you’re watching the game and dissectng the pitch call and the next you’re on your feet after a liner or a double play that steals the leading runner from you. Yes, it’s a great game.

    One tenet of baseball is that no lead is safe going into the ninth inning. I have seen many a ninth inning-meltdown.

    Thanks again for posting stop back by.

  4. I have to say that I prefer the fall to the spring, because of the coming of football season. I like baseball, it was the first sport I ever played, and played it more than any other sport, but I LOVED football.

    MLB isn’t the great American Past-time anymore, with inflated salaries, diluted pitching, and synthetic muscles. It’s things like that that draw me to favor college, amateur and semi-pro athletics (though college athletics have their problems). Watch college sports and see some kids playing a game they love for the love of the game. There is still some of that in baseball, but you see it mostly in the minors.

    All that being said, I can think of no better way to spend a spring or summer afternoon than in the Durham Bulls Athletic Park cheering for the Bulls, Wool E. and Kevin (the between-inning MC).

  5. Don’t forget Lucky the Wonder Dog!

    I agree with you as far as college athletics go. I am more of a fan of college for the same reason you mentioned. The guys are playing for the team or for excellence, not for the money (except maybe Reggie Bush). But college baseball doesn’t have the same exposure that MLB does. But I always set aside time for the college world series (save for those darn aluminum bats) and the little league world series (which won’t be the same without Harold Reynolds).


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