Take Me Out to the Ballgame

panoramic-view-baseball-field I love baseball. And for all of you coming up with reasons for why you don't love baseball, know that I will ignore them.

It's that time of year when all the big league teams are undefeated and hoping or believing they'll win the World Series this season. Spring training is in full swing and the stories of older players hoping for one last season ("I'm in the best shape of my life") and rookies hoping for that first season ("I think I can, I think I can") abound.

I love baseball.The games are not restricted to a shot clock, halftime report, or endless time outs. The game begins with the first pitch and ends with the last pitch and that can be any length of time. So what? What's the hurry? Take time for a conversation with the guy in the seat next to you, go up to the concession stand for a brat and beer, watch the entire field instead of being limited to what the camera allows. Keep score. Take. Your. Time.

Catch a few rays. Consider strategy. Guess how many ways a runner can score from third base (I came up with 11 just off the top of my head), keep score.

I love baseball. It smells good. Leather gloves, baseballs, freshly-cut grass, the scent of pine tar on bats, resin on the ball.

I love baseball. It sounds good. The crack of bat on ball (send all aluminum bats to hell), a fastball popping into the catcher's kit, runners running, umpires calling a player out.

I love baseball. It looks good. The manicured field, the green grass and brown of the skinned infield, the open sky, the ads on the outfield walls, the Green Monster in Fenway, the ivy in Wrigley Field.

Go to a game. Turn off your cell phone. Better yet, leave the stupid thing at home. Watch, listen, smell. Relax. You'll be glad.

I love baseball.

Be Better, Boston!

fenway As I write this, my team, the last-place (last year) Boston Red Sox are beating The Forces of Evil in the very pit of Hell. That means the Red Sox are whipping the Yankees in the new Yankee Stadium. This bodes well for the season, and the possibility of a 162-0 record still exists.

Opening Day, Opening Day, are there better words in the English lexicon? All things are possible, the sights and sounds of smells of baseball have returned, and all is well, at least for the moment.

My most memorable Opening Day was 1971, when using a ticket I ordered when I was still living in Israel, I got to see the Red Sox and Yankees in Fenway Park. With snow flurries most of the time. With the great Yaz making a sliding catch in left field, one leg in front of him to keep him from sliding into the wall down the left field line.

I have been a Red Sox fan for 57 years and counting, and that includes mostly bad seasons. Never a front-runner, it was a delight to win the World Series in '04, ending 86 years of futility.

A good friend of mine is a serious, committed Cubs fan. It's been over a century, 113 years, since they've won a World Series so, after Boston, I'm pulling for Chicago. A dream World Series would be Boston and the Cubs. Right now, it is possible.

Play Ball!