As I’ve mentioned previously, my favorite sport is baseball. The new season is about a month old. My favorite team, the 27 time World Champion New York Yankees (don’t hate the player, hate the game) is off to a fast start, but still trail the first place Tampa Bay Rays who have had an even faster start. The Yanks play a big series this weekend against their hated rivals, the Boston Red Sox.
NFL hall of famer, Howie Long, contrasted baseball and football the best. In his hall of fame induction speech he said that while baseball was America’s pastime, football was America’s passion. I agree with that. I’m passionate about football, but love baseball. Someone else described the distinction as football being the way life is while baseball is the way life should be. No matter how much the owners and players try to screw it up, and the media criticizes it, baseball is still a great game. A game to enjoy for the whole family, and my family surely does. My four-year-old son is into the game, my oldest nephew is on his high school varsity team, my other nephew is in little league, and I have two teenage nieces who are on softball teams.
Baseball players are famously known as “the boys of summer,” but for me they’re the heralds of spring. They start their season at the best time of the year. Spring always has so much promise, so much hope. The days get longer and the weather starts to get warmer (unless you’re in NYC now with it either is unseasonable cold most of March and this first half of April or de facto monsoon season). Life just feels better at the start of spring. The baseball season is also full of promise and hope.
The thing I cherish about baseball the most is the nostalgia, in the game and in your own experience. The game is a time machine where you can envision the players of the past playing the same game as today, and the players from today playing in the past, even with the whole steroid issue. The personal nostalgia is the memories I have, of my parents being big baseball fans (they still are), but my father being mainly a Met fan, and my mother being a die-hard Yankee fan. I was born in 1972, so I never got to see the original Yankee Stadium, but my mother did. She also got to see Mickey Mantle play. Her memories are my memories now. That’s the beauty of baseball.