The calendar thankfully flips over to April each year, ensuring baseball’s most passionate fans another season enamored with America’s Pastime.
As millions of fans don pinstriped jerseys and fitted caps, they can smell tulips and freshly cut grass even amidst cold and rainy days.
The spring takes on a different meaning to those who depend on bats, gloves, mounds, and rotating seams to survive.
Allergies become baseball’s ultimate nonconformist, attempting to impact the sights and smells of the sport’s initial months.
Sneezing accompanies relentlessly itching eyes; running fans the risk of having to scratch during a timeless moment in baseball history.
Stubbornly clogged nostrils make it nearly impossible to sense the presence of a hot dog or pretzel vendor.
Restricted airways impede fans’ ability to scream and chant with 52,000+ other baseball die-hards.
Sufferers like me understand that none of these fruitless attempts by nature will affect our memories or appreciation for the game.
When Baltimore Orioles pitcher Jeremy Guthrie releases the season’s first pitch from his trembling hand, time will stop as we all hold our collective breath.
It will appear as though we can all count the seams on his incoming fastball. At that exact moment…nothing else matters.
Not persisting unemployment or escalating problems at home. Not a recent breakup or a fender-bender in the parking lot. Not even the monthly statement from TD Ameritrade regarding your investment status.
Nothing else matters because baseball is once again officially part of our lives.
Songs and chants begin to replay in our heads like a broken record, and we can’t help but to participate or sing along.
Though it would require a second mortgage for you to “buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks” in the new Yankee Stadium, the economy and astronomical prices take a back seat to double plays and ground-rule doubles.
Once fans begin to hear “da da da Da da Da da…,” they can’t help but think about their swelling credit card debts. Regardless, they thrust their arms into the air and yell, “CHARGE!”
Following the tragedies of September 11, baseball helped to save New York City from a time of depression, regret, shock, and fear.
It provides an escape from the things others turn to alcohol or illicit drugs to avoid. It provides a refuge for those who simply need a distraction.
America’s Pastime succeeds in putting smiles back onto even the most miserable of faces.
Once the game that we love most begins again…nothing else matters.