Sunday, March 30, 2008

Opening Day

I had hoped to get this post up actually on baseball's Opening Day. Alas, life intervened, but I still have to share my thoughts on this subject near and dear to my heart!

I love baseball. I really, really do. I grew up with baseball. I played T-ball and then softball for many years. My entire family loves baseball. My mom and dad laugh and say they almost didn't get married because my mom didn't want to miss a single minute of the 1968 Tigers' run through the playoffs. Some of my fondest childhood memories involve listening to Tigers baseball - to this day hearing Ernie Harwell's voice brings back long summer days and the freedom of being young. (There has never been, nor will there ever be, another voice of baseball like Ernie Harwell!) The best baseball period ever in my life was , The Roar of '84. The Detroit Tigers went "wire to wire", leading their division the entire season after a record 35-5 start, culminating in a World Series win. That's the only time "my team" has won a championship when I was following them. And it doesn't matter to me. I love baseball, win or lose.

My boys don't play much baseball. We play in the yard a bit, and they did a season with a homeschool baseball league last year. I have so much respect for my friend Megan's family. Her boys are so involved in baseball that she named her blog "Bases Loaded"! I just can't imagine being so busy with 4 different boys on 4 different fields on lots of different days. Being that busy just doesn't go well with my family of homebodies. It might have been different if we had started the boys in t-ball and Little League at the appropriate times - unfortunately, circumstances and finances prevented us from joining teams when they were the right age, and it's now hard for them to step in the middle with their lack of knowledge and skill.

But that's ok - we all still love baseball, and that's what matters. We listen to almost every single Braves game, and we try to go to at least one game a year. We also follow the Tigers and the Minnesota Twins. This year I'm interested in the Diamondbacks, too, since we came close to moving out to Arizona.

Yes, I know that baseball is tainted by drugs and money. I hate "money ball", I far prefer teams that work within their own farm systems and nurture home-grown talent. I despise performance enhancing drugs and the culture that promotes and accepts it. But I think that baseball has always had ups and downs, because it is made up of human beings, with all our failings and strengths. It's one of the best thing about the game - because despite incredible talent, it's still a very human game. Not everyone can imagine growing up to become a hockey player, or a football player. But just about anyone can dream of playing baseball. I love that!

And Opening Day is what it's all about. It's my favorite time of the year. I love spring training, but it's bittersweet, because you always know that some of these guys won't make the team. As the season wears on, some teams are clearly out of contention, which is always a bummer, and sometimes the stress of having a team trying to make the playoffs is a wonderful yet terrible feeling! But Opening Day is grand. Everyone has a chance. Every player could become MVP, every team has a chance at the playoffs.

I just love baseball, and I'm so excited about being able to listen and see it for the next 7 months!


Megan said...

We are a baseball loving family as well, but only two of my boys actually love playing the game. Matthew and James are the only ones playing this year (no complaints from me!) Michael has turned to target shooting and archery. Loves playing basketball out front with his brothers and golf and will play flag football in the fall, but baseball has become a purely spectator sport for him. John, is our future architect LOVES to build things, and just dabbles in organized sports. He played fall ball but sat out this spring. I do not miss having 3 playing at once! So thank you very much for your compliments, but you give me way more credit than I deserve. Organized sports takes alot! My BIL played pro baseball and with their 8 boys only one of them plays the game!

Maybe we'll plan a World Series party this fall and have you guys over!

Megan said...

Oh, forgot mention that Kent's brother was in town a few years ago and they took Michael and Matthew to the Braves vs. Diamondbacks game, the one where Randy Johnson pitched a perfect game. Don't know if Kent will ever top that experience, he still has the ticket stubs somewhere!