All my life I have lived and breathed sports. Always rushing from here to there, school to practice and practice to school. I have been born and raised in a baseball home. I have seen, heard and known about baseball my whole life. Maybe that’s why this time of year is so special. Why the longer days seem that much longer and that much better. Why the skies seem that much bluer and the air that much warmer. This is my favorite time of year-baseball is back for another 162 games.
Love it or hate it, baseball is and always will be America’s pastime. Players can sign multi-million dollar contracts or leave a team they have been a part of for over 14 seasons, but when you get down to it, at its purest, baseball is still just a bunch of little boys running around under the lights on a hot, humid night playing the game that they love. You can’t be a part of something that grueling if there isn’t love. They love the game because it’s easy and they love the game because it’s hard.
Baseball has simple rules and a simple plan-that’s what makes it easy.
Baseball is a game of inches and that’s what makes it hard. An inch higher or lower on a swing of the bat is the difference between a pop-up and a home run. An inch inside or outside on a pitch is a difference between a ball and a strike. That’s what makes it so great.
Tom Hanks put it best in “A League of Their Own” when he said, “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard, is what makes it great.
Baseball is about superstitions and traditions. Don’t step on the foul line, always use the same bat during a hitting streak and let the pitcher pick up his ball. I have even heard of a player brushing his teeth in between good innings, but that was just because he had to spit out the black licorice he chewed on while pitching. There was the curse of the Babe, and still is the curse of the goat, ceremonial first pitches and singing of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” during the seventh inning stretch.
All these things are why fans love it. Baseball fans live for opening day. I remember after the World Series ended last October I received an e-mail from a die-hard baseball fan (my brother) counting down the days until pitchers and catchers reported for spring training. It doesn’t matter who your team is (Cubbies), but just that you love them and support them whether they win or lose. Baseball fans are the best because they can love during the best and worst of times.