I may have mentioned in the past I’m a huge baseball fan. Less than a week until pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training!!! We’re *this* close to my favorite time of year.But why baseball, you ask? The easy answer is I just love being at the ball field on a warm summer day, listening to the sounds of the ball being caught and hit. The long answer goes much deeper than that.
My brother, K, is almost four years older. When I was little, I worshipped him. I was too much a priss to want to do the same sports he did, but I loved watching him play. And he played baseball. More than that, he was pretty darn good. I was so proud of him. Most of the younger siblings would play on the playground during the games, and pester their parents into multiple trips to the snack bar. Not me….I sat in my little chair, watching my big brother play. I learned how to keep score when I was maybe seven years old. Some of my best childhood memories are from those Little League ball fields.
Add to this, I’m a Daddy’s girl, in addition to being close to my brother. Spending time with them meant watching sports. One of those sports was baseball. They were Oakland A’s fans, so I became an Oakland A’s fan. The fact they won three World Series in a row when I was little-little didn’t hurt. So baseball is also wrapped up in memories of spending time with Daddy and K.
When I was in college, a bunch of my friends were on the baseball team. We spent Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays (when I wasn’t working) at the field watching them play. I learned so much more about the game those three years. I learned the mental side of the game, the strategies of plays and players, the dance that happens between pitcher and hitter. I learned the game, and I learned respect for the game.
A couple of years out of college, my brother and I got season tickets for our beloved Athletics team. Now baseball meant Saturday and Sunday afternoons at the park. Sun-drenched memories created with the brother who introduced me to baseball. We had our favorite players, few of whom ever lasted more than a few years with the A’s before they were traded away. But it was baseball, and it was time together, and it was our favorite team.
Every year as Spring Training approaches, I start watching baseball movies. I have my favorites…Bull Durham, Major League, For Love of the Game, A League of Their Own, The Natural, Eight Men Out, Moneyball. They remind me baseball is close. They remind me all the things I’m anxiously awaiting. They remind me why and how much I love the game. When the season actually starts, our television will be tuned to games nearly every day, from the time the first pitch is thrown of whatever early game there is, until the last out of the last night game that day. The sounds of the game bring calm to my day.
Baseball is a game….it’s a game of throw the ball, catch the ball, hit the ball. But it’s so much more than that. It’s little boys taking the t-ball field for the very first time. It’s little sisters watching big brothers play on an all-star team. It’s daddies and daughters spending treasured time together. It’s siblings sharing a passion for a certain team. It’s competition. It’s one man vs another, one team vs another. It’s beer, brats, cotton candy, and peanuts. It’s fly balls and home runs. It’s winning, and losing. That’s why baseball.