The world is back in its proper orbit. The rite of spring has arrived. This is much bigger than Groundhog Day, at least in my world. I heard the sound of a 32 ounce bat hitting a small well thrown white ball yesterday. I refer to seeing my first spring baseball game in Florida. For the record the Atlanta Braves beat the L. A. Dodgers 8-7, on a three-run walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth by future-star Jarrod Saltalamacchia. (One of the great joys of baseball is learning these amazing names!) But, truth be known, no one really cares that much who wins in a spring game. All the true fan cares about is this one simple fact: "The game is back. Spring is here! Summer will return."

The sun was high in the Florida sky, the stands were almost full for the home opener at the beautiful Ballpark at Disney. And I saw the Dodgers take batting practice while I had my first real "ballpark food" of the new season. On top of that the GM’s son, Jonathan Schuerholz, hit one out of the park. (He is most unlikely to ever play at the major league level but he did hit a spring home run!) For those of you who can’t enjoy this wonderful pleasure, this great game, you have my sympathy. For those of you who love this game like me I wish you could have been there yesterday to enjoy it with me. The sights, the sounds and the atmosphere were, well, just beautiful! Poetry in motion I would call it all.

It will not be long now until they play these games for real. Hope springs eternal for every fan of every team in the month of March. Everyone gets to dream a new dream and begin life all over again, making this great sport something like a parable of grace and redemption. Reality does set in by mid-summer, however. Until then everyone who loves the game dreams of a date with destiny in October. Let the season begin. I can’t wait. My spirits are up today as I look forward to many more great games to come. 

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  1. Pete Wmson March 4, 2006 at 8:31 pm

    ahh…music to my ears!

  2. the Foolish Sage March 5, 2006 at 9:08 am

    Have you ever heard Bill Mallonee’s wonderful paen to baseball (acting as a metaphor for his life as a wandering troubador who never made the “big time”)?
    yeah you give it all your heart
    ’cause that’s the way you play the game
    ever since the smell of fresh cut outfield grass
    you’ve always been this way
    from the oil upon your leather glove
    to the sharp crack of the bat
    to the faces on the trading cards
    and the stats upon the back
    you give it all your heart
    ’cause they come to see you swing
    you learn to nurse your own hurts
    and hope the coach doesn’t suspect a thing
    sure it is a long shot
    but the sky seemed oh so clear
    we may not make it out the bush leagues honey
    but that’s not why we’re here
    now ever since the first game
    it’s been deep inside of you
    was it a music only you could hear
    when the count was three and two?
    but ever since you picked up the wood
    you can’t seem to put it down
    you cannot get enough of it
    so you roam from town to town
    and some call it your passion
    and some call it your gift
    you know the way you read the wind-up
    and the nuance of each pitch
    the whole thing felt like something else
    when we walked onto that field
    it was like a language you must learn to read
    or a base that you must steal
    we may not win the pennant
    we may not drink champagne
    it’s not whether you win or lose
    but it’s how you play the game
    the heroes are not as many
    and the scoreboards are not as bright
    but somewhere some kid gets it all
    when he swings that wood tonight
    i once knew a woman
    she asked her son to shine her shoes
    she put a quarter in each one of them
    ’cause she thought that was his due
    but he returned the money
    and when she asked him why that was
    he said mom i’m old enough to know by now
    you just do some things for love
    well you give it all your heart
    ’cause that’s the way you play the game
    ever since the smell of fresh-cut outfield grass
    we’ve always been this way
    sure it is a long shot
    but the sky seemed oh so clear
    we may not make it out of the bush leagues honey
    but that’s not why we’re here
    Written by Bill Mallonee for CyBrenJoJosh (BMI) ©2002

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