It has finally happened the long winter is now over, and Baseball is back. Over the next few days, every Major League Baseball team will be playing their first Spring Training games. And I for am can’t wait to watch them all.
Spring Training games are finally upon us. And every though yesterdays game between the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics was cut short by rain. There was a game played by opposing teams to determine who was better on that day. And today those same two teams will meet once again, and you can catch the game on MLB.TV. subscription. The beauty of Spring Training is being able to see your favorite team once again on the field. Watching your favorite players running down a ball in the outfield gap. Being able to watch a middle infield combo turning a perfect double play. Once again being able to witness the philosophical approach of Joey Votto, the modern day “Tony Gwynn with power” (John Smoltz words.) The first couple weeks of Spring Training are different than what we get during the grind of 162. Managers and players are experimenting with different strategies and approaches. We see hitters working on taking the ball to the opposite field. Pitchers are constantly working on the elusive third or fourth pitch during Spring Training. All the while looking to use any positive momentum to “spring” them into a great start to the regular season.
March Towards Immortality
Every Spring Training each team begins their quest. A quest that ends with winning the World Series. (At least that’s supposed to be the end goal.) Each year the start of Spring Training renews and reaffirms that pursuit. Last’s years champion had their moment of glory and this year is all new. The beauty in the game can be seen from today until November. As games begin and we hear the sound of the ball hitting the bat. Or we hear the popping of the mitt from a blazing fastball we are hit with a wave of excitement.
Being a fan of baseball and not really any other of the four major North American sports, I get asked one question repeatedly during the offseason. What do you do when Baseball is over? And the response I have given to this question for years is a quote from the great Rogers Hornsby. And the quote reads ” People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.” And my response is the same. However, today is no longer the case because for the next nine months I will have baseball back on my screen every single day. And I love every moment of it.
Response to the Naysayers
When it comes to the naysayers there are several legendary quotes that come to mind. But none better than from Red Barber, legendary baseball sportscaster, who said: ” Baseball is only dull to dull minds.” The game of baseball has such levels of intricacy and strategy, such levels of nuance. But it also has brute strength and balletic athleticism. Baseball is a game that connects generations of people, across all specters. People of every color, creed, religion, race, gender, and every other separating measurement can come together when supporting their favorite team. It is a team sport built upon the backbone of one-on-one competition.
And I’ll close with this baseball is the only game where the defense has the ball. Which reminds me of a quote I heard said from Earl Weaver, former Baltimore Orioles manager. The quote reads “You can’t sit on a lead and run a few plays into the line and just kill the clock. You’ve got to throw the ball over the damn plate and give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game of them all.”