These two little words are a big deal where I’m from, and the Major League Baseball season officially starts the day pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training. Despite the fact we’re in the dead of Winter here at home, interest in the sport heats up immediately once the boys of Summer get to Florida and start throwing that little cowhide wrapped ball around.
Though I’m not the avid fan I was in my younger days, it’s tough not to feel a thrill when Spring Training begins. I played baseball as a kid, up into my high school years. I wasn’t good enough to compete at high levels without putting in all the extra work it takes, so I drifted away from the fields, but you could always talk me into a quick game of catch.
Going to ball games was an integral part of growing up, and while it can still be fun, having kids of my own completely changed my perspective and enjoyment of the game. When your kids see their first game, their sense of wonder is palpable, and mostly the reason I had fun, but the reality today is that it’s such a huge monetary commitment to take your family to the stadium that we simply can’t it more than maybe once a year. Kids in the house can also change the way you allocate your time, and with games nearly every night, it’s tough for me to watch them as often anymore.
The game moves a bit too slowly for my taste these days. Starting right on the heels of hockey season, baseball struggles to hold my attention, at least for the first month or so. My favorite team boasts the second most World Series victories of all-time, but I was put off the game for years by my hometown team having a manger I just couldn’t stand. He kind of ruined baseball for me for a while there. He’s since been fired and moved on, and I’ve been trying to rekindle my love for the game and the team. Heck, I’m still drunk on the excitement of our hockey team winning the Stanley Cup! That’s stiff competition for my time and attention.
But again, those two little words, Play ball! are quite powerful in conjuring memories, nostalgia, and emotion, for a guy who grew up with the game. Cheating scandals aside, I’m looking forward to the new season and definitely plan to watch a few games with my kids. Those words may even be enough to convince me to dig out my old glove.
This post was inspired by the Can of Corn Challenge over at the blog, A ‘lil HooHaa. It runs February through October in concordance with the baseball season. click on the link to visit the challenge page to read other entries, or even join up!