For baseball players the worst possible thing, other than a season ending injury, that can happen is: rain. I actually like the rain though, there is something calming about it. Also, it is how I got my first win as a pitcher and girlfriend.
For me and my friends there are no rain delays, rainouts, snow delays, snowouts, or any other weather related problem. We play through the rain and other weather related issues. All weather issues except the following: Hurricanes, Tornadoes, Earthquakes, Duststorms, or Lightning Storms.
For two or three days a week there are no worries. No college exams. No papers due. No big research projects. No job to worry about. No global warming, terrorists, wars, or strife. No, not even the "deadly" N1H1 swine flu to worry about.
Pure unadulterated baseball. No steroids, sociocultural, socioeconomic, or gender/ ethnicity issues added.
Five Ash bats.
Two Rawlings "Boog Powell" edition first baseman's mitts.
Two sets of throwback "tools of ignorance" (catchers gear), including mitts.
Eighteen fielder's gloves and batting helmets.
Eighteen players of mixed gender and various ages.
Eighteen pairs of sneakers/spikes.
One bucket of twenty-five baseballs.
One baseball diamond.
Eye Black, sunglasses and High-knee baseball socks optional.
No uniforms necessary.
Total cost of the above: $0
Nothing but eighteen guys (and girls) having some fun, and just trying to escape from all of their everyday problems. Skill level does not matter to us: you can be the greenest of rookies or the craftiest of veterans. The name of the game is fun.
It is always funny to watch someone imitate David Wright, Ryan Howard, or the Babe in the box. Or imitate Walter Johnson, Tim Lincecum or Cole Hamels on the mound. Or watch someone rob another person of a hit, home run, or gun down a runner at the plate.
It you get hit by a pitch it is like an honor or a rite of passage in our games. No one charges the mound, or throws the ball back at you, or hurls the bat at you. There may be a combination of the stink-eye, dirty-eye, or evil-eye shot back at you but nothing serious.
Even when someone does decide to charge the mound people are usually laughing. Even the batter.
It is cool when someone pulls out the seemingly impossible due to some previous negative stereotype. Everyone marvels at the unbelievable plays. The deep home run bombs hit. And every double-play turned.
Everyone gets their own walk-up song. Everyone gets their own starter and reliever entrance song. Everyone has their own home run celebration tune. All of which gets played from a big stereo.
A batter's walk-up as cool as Chase Utley. (Led Zeppelin's Kashmir)
A reliever's entrance as dominating as Mariano Rivera or Trevor Hoffman. (Metallica's Enter Sandman or AC/DC's Hells Bells)
A starter's entrance as random as everyone chooses. (In my case: Embassy's Gravity)
A home run celebration tune from EA Sports cult classic, MVP Baseball 2005 that goes, "We got the noise!" (Donots' We Got The Noise)
Whenever it rains, the game winds up being a giant "slip" and sliding contest out in right field. It is like playing flag football during the fall in the rain and snow. No one cares about getting muddy or dirty.
Getting mud or dirt on your clothes, arms, legs, and the rest of the body is like a badge of honor. A "war wound" or "battle casualty" if you will. Cuts and scrapes are also like a badge of honor.
In the end it is not about whether or not your team wins but if you had fun playing. Because that is what it comes down to: "Did you have fun out there? Or was it 'so much work, work, work...yeah, yo it's too much work for me?'"
That is all God meant baseball to be. Fun.
Plain and simple.