The Rite of Spring

John ArmstrongBaseball

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.