It’s that time of year. Pitchers and catchers have reported, and the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues are in full swing (pun intended). As much as I’d love to be in Florida during Spring training, I get just as much joy going to our local high school and college to watch the teams play there. And, since I graduated from both, it’s nice to be able to go and visit the campuses and maybe run into old friends.
As I get older, I find myself enjoying the sport of baseball more. There are certain aspects of the game that appeal to me now that didn’t used to when I was younger. For instance, baseball is a slow-paced game. That would drive some people crazy, however, the ADD me likes being able to keep up with what’s going on, and it’s much easier to follow with a few men scattered out across the playing surface than it is with two groups in the middle, vying for the same ball or puck, which is lost somewhere in the bottom of the pile.
Another thing I like about the game is that, although it’s a team sport, it is also a game of individuals. One batter against one pitcher, thinking, ‘will I be able to hit the pitch?’ and, if he does, then it becomes the runner against the fielder, thinking, ‘can I make it to first base before the fielder throws me out?’ Or the pitcher, thinking, ‘can I strike out this batter?’
Finally, it’s a different atmosphere than any other sport. It’s laid back, usually sunny and warm and the crowd noise is different than the roaring and cheering you would hear at any other sporting event. You do hear the cheering of the crowd when a good play is made or the jeers at a bad call, but you also hear “batter chatter”. You know what I mean, “hey batter batter, hey batter batter…swing!” You never hear someone at a football game yell, “hey quarterback, hey quarterback…pass!” There’s also the guy in the stands hollering out encouragement, “Come on, kid! You got this, kid!” Hearing “kid” reminds me of every old baseball movie I ever saw as a kid myself.
Being at the baseball stadium is just a neat thing for me. It’s a world all it’s own, and I can’t wait to enjoy this season.