With the start of the regular season officially less than a week away let’s take this moment to take a final breath before the grind that is the Major League Baseball season. As die hard baseball fans we live and breathe our teams. Their victories are our victories, their defeats are our defeats. If you’re not a sports fan you can not understand the bond forged in blood sweat and tears with our teams.
Now for most people that bond gets spread out across multiple sports and for most the teams are usually in their “home” area. I however am only a baseball fan. The attachment I feel to the game and subsequently the New York Yankees is a strong bond unfazed and unbroken. Since as far back as I can remember the yankees have always been my baseball team, and they continue to be even more today than yesterday.
For anyone who knows me I make it clear that I am a baseball fan first and then a Yankee fan. Allow me to clarify my position, a lot of people that claim fandom of a particular team only get on the roller coaster ride of said team. And this is a journey I take for the 162 (plus) game campaign of the New York Yankees. But I also watch everyone, meaning a mid-May game across the continental United States in San Diego where the Padres are taking on the Miami Marlins I will watch. I pick these two teams because they have the least impact on “My Team the Yankees”. Nothing against either team as they are both going to be intriguing teams to see this season.
I love the game of baseball and I try to take in as much baseball on every level as possible in my yearly subscription to MLB.TV I subscribe not just to be able to watch the Major League teams but also the Minor League teams as well. I try to catch some college baseball and softball games (shout out to the Texas A&M softball team) as well.
Baseball is a game that can transcend generations, and while sometimes baseball allegiances can “divide” families it can bring others close together. The family we join by the team we choose to follow can bring people you never expect in at the right time.
Baseball’s marathon grind can be a very representative example of life. You won’t always be successful but you always have to strive for your best. In baseball size doesn’t determine your level of drive. Derek Jeter was always quoted as saying that “There may be people better than you, but no one should ever out work you”. And this message was very much solidified when the Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve won the 2017 American League MVP. Altuve’s story has been told and retold countless times but what’s once more. Altuve was cut from his first day of tryout camps in Venezuelan out of concern over his height. He came back the next day anyway and the next day and the next as was signed for $15k. Now Jose coming off an AL MVP award was awarded by the Astros with a 5 year extension for $151 million dollars.
Every Spring Training the cliché gets thrown about that “Hope Spring Eternal”, yet every year it’s true. Teams and fans alike (especially from the North East) can’t wait to see those moving images of grown men playing a kids game. The sound of the ball popping in the back of the catchers mitt, or the ball cracking off the bat. These sights and sounds elicit the kind of joy out of people than only baseball can provide. And while yes every year the game has undergone some changes to quicken the “Pace of Play” it hasn’t changed it’s core. 9 Innings, 9 players on the field, the only sport where the defense has the ball. A team sport consisting of an individual battle of pitcher versus batter.
So with this season quickly approaching again just take a moment to reflect back on your own history as a baseball fan and as your team begins it’s quest to a World Series know that your own personal “World Series” (goals and/or dreams) are also achievable with working hard throughout your own Major League season.