Every year around this time I phone Dave, who grew up in Seattle and loves everything about the Emerald City, to tell him this is the year. He’s probably the most competitive person I’ve ever known, and cockiest I might add, so to say that we’ve exchanged our fair share of banter over the years would be putting it mildly.
But even he can’t resist to just play along when I make that yearly call to let him know how excited I am that all the experts are picking my Pittsburgh Pirates to win it all. It’s become as much of a tradition as the Pirates having a losing season is.
The sad thing is that a part of me actually believes they could somehow Marlin their way to a surprise World Series title. Hey what can I say, I take the term die-hard to a new level—obviously, to remain a fan of an organization that hasn’t had a winning season in about 15 years.
There’s just something about watching or listening to baseball on a warm summer evening that makes all the sense in the world, even if your team is the Detroit Lions of baseball—actually, that would probably be a disservice to the Lions if anything.
Call me old school, but I love a 1-0 game. I love watching a pitchers duel. I just wish for once my beloved Pirates could play a meaningful game after the All-Star break. But still I watch.
There’s nothing quite like a relaxing night at the stadium either. Even if it’s just a minor league game, hot-dogs and a cold one never tasted so good—that is, if you can afford them.
The thing about watching baseball is that you don’t need to be engaged every second of the game. You can let your mind wander for a bit, enjoy the atmosphere and just relax.
I mean I love my Eagles but it’s so different. When a commercial comes, I have to race to the kitchen and back for a refill as though missing a single play would be like losing a piece of myself that I could never get back. Yes I know about DVR’s, but you can’t fall behind when everyone you know wants to call you as soon as a big play happens to chant E-A-G-L-E-S Eagles!!
But baseball is serene and pure. It’s the closest thing to a gentleman’s game aside from golf, which is also one of my loves.
But more than just watching the game is playing it. Even if you’re an un-drafted free agent like myself just playing on the company softball team, there’s no feeling quite like that of putting that glove on and the slap of the ball hitting the leather.
I even enjoy the cloud of dust from kicking the dirt around in the infield, the smell of the grass in the outfield, and the brush burns I get from diving for a sharply hit grounder up the middle in shorts.
And while there’s nothing that compares to the sound of a wooden bat cracking the ball, I’ll take the “ding” from the aluminum over nothing.
I enjoy it all.
Maybe it’s my way of connecting with my childhood when my grandfather was still alive and took me to my first Pirates game at Three Rivers Stadium.
Maybe I’m trying to relive my little league days, where even though we lost twice as many as we won, it was still the best feeling in the world to have your mom sitting outside the diamond cheering you on.
In any case, I love baseball, whether it’s watching it, listening to it, coaching it, or playing it. And I’ll love it until my days are over.