Play Ball!

February 14th was the day Phillies pitchers and catchers reported for spring training this year. It should be a national holiday. Valentine’s Day can go fuck itself, people should buy cards and candies celebrating the fact that baseball season is around the corner.

Pitchers and catchers is start of the holiday season.

To the non-sports fan, the outside observer, a baseball game is just a football game that doesn’t stop every eight seconds for a commercial. Just another three hour period during which the fan in their lives looks at a TV and drinks beer and yells profanities. But to anyone who celebrates both, baseball is a whole different experience. It’s played at night. There’s no clock. It’s slower and longer. It’s filled with contemplation, discussion, humor. The drama builds and sometimes the excitement comes out of nowhere. The coaches aren’t complete assholes (I know. I know). And there’s no John Madden. Violence and injuries are unusual.

Baseball season is just as different. It’s played during the spring and the summer, when the days are longer and the mood is more optimistic and warm. The games often start in daylight and end in the wee hours. The season is a marathon, it’s long and it’s played almost every day of the week. A day without a Phillies game leaves you scrambling for another game. Fortunately, there’s always a game to watch somewhere.

Baseball evokes a whole set of images, sensations, and memories. The snap of the first pitch hitting the catcher’s mitt. Starting with a one-two-three inning. Realizing in the fourth inning that the opposition hasn’t had a hit yet, and knowing that everyone else in the room knows it too. And eternal damnation to anyone who brings it up. Baseball is a game filled with stories and anecdotes. Names like Dutch, Chase, and Schmitty. Brad Lidge on his knees on the mound. Rose assisting Boone near the first base dugout. Watching a day game during a barbecue, eating too many hotdogs and drinking a freezing cold beer. Sitting in the living room watching a night game in June or July, the crickets and chatter of summer outside the window. Catching highlights in the morning over a bowl of cereal. A scrub player stroking a double down the line and forgiving him all of his previous transgressions. Baseball is the closest I come to prayer.

In any event. Play ball!

Comments are closed.