Spring is finally here and baseball is back. For me the two have been synonymous for as long as I can remember. Spring begins with "Play Ball" and winter begins when the World Series is over. I know many of you think that is crazy but it is me and I love this time of the year. For almost every fan "hope springs eternal" in April. Your team is still in it and no one is buried in the pennant race yet. In fact, many teams are surprisingly good right now and some that seem to be bad this early will turn it around in the next few months.
You may wonder what makes baseball so different since you see it as a dull and slow game. I answer, "It is a thinking person's game. It is paced just right for conversation and thought. It is slow enough to allow for breaks and pauses yet each pitch has a different purpose and result." If you understand baseball you can enjoy it. If you don't you will be bored. What can I say?
Baseball junkies like me know numbers and generally love statistics. I have had friends who knew more baseball trivia than any genius I have ever met. And I have known players who have allowed me to see this game from the inside perspective. Getting into major league clubhouses has been a particular joy for me as a result of speaking for Baseball Chapels.
I have been to regular season games in 29 of 30 Major League cities as of this month. The only place I have not seen a regular season game is in Miami where the Marlins play. I need to go back to New York (the Yankees and Mets both have new stadiums) and north to Minneapolis to catch the Twins' new field. These are the three newest parks. My travel over all these years has allowed me to see baseball games in every part of the country. Between early April and late October this game gives me a lot of pleasure. I am really glad it is back and know some of you understand this very well. The rest will simply think what you will.
This year my two teams give me a lot of hope. The Atlanta Braves have the pitching to contend once again and the Chicago White Sox seem to be as well. I think both of them will be around the top of their division until late in the season. This makes for an interesting and restful summer for me as a fan. If one of my teams makes it to the post-season then that just extends the fun a little longer.