Back in the Swing of Things

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Back in the Swing of Things
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Welcome back baseball season.

Officially.

I'm not saying that the first month of the season isn't exciting or incredible. I'm just saying it's much nicer when the super casual fans start to dissipate.

Granted they'll be back again when it gets even nicer out, but whenever you can take the day off to catch a game when people are watching the pitch count more than counting their beers, it's bliss.

Even when the person sitting next to you isn't a fan of the team, when they love baseball, it's tough to beat a day at the ballpark.

Last year, I went to two separate Cubs games. One at which I sat with my friends in the 100 level behind first base, and it was one of the most pleasurable games I've been to.

The people around us were not only friendly, but wanted to watch the game. It was great. We talked about Paul Bako's tenure with a few of the friendly confines finest, and when a reference was made to ole' Ron Santo, people knew he was more than just the lovable broadcaster.

Then there was the game were I sat in the bleachers...

I'm not saying don't sit there—it's something you have to do if you get the chance. But the amount of beer spilled on me was unbelievable. It came from all directions too, with someone managing to spill backwards and up, a truly spectacular feat.

The difference? One game was in May, one was in July.

This year I sat at U.S. Cellular field during opening week and saw so many people in the 100 level concourse stumbling more than John Madden during a Monday night broadcast.

The bar scene is affected too.

You can spot the real fans, donning their teams colors from head to toe. The Red Sox hat, jersey, baseball seam bracelet, and flip flops in my case. And you can spot the casual fan.

"Who are we playing today?" or, "That Zack Greinke, he's no good."

Baseball thrives on the warmer weather waiting around the corner, but it's kind of nice when the ball field is about 50-60 degrees and there is a chance for rain. It keeps those that just want to catch a tan away. We'd rather catch foul balls—or at least try.

I don't want to see the park devoid of the casual fan either. The casual fan can be great. It's the person that shouts louder that he's had his 15th beer in the park than when the ball is crushed off his teams bat to deep left.

The fact that summer is starting to warm up will undoubtedly bring out the fan that still thinks Nomar is wearing a "B" on his hat, but that shouldn't stop the rest of us from reveling in the race for October.

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