It’s Opening Day for Baseball. Here is a story/poem I wrote on the first love of my life…..Baseball!
That’s Baseball to Me!
Playing catch for the first time with your Father, that’s baseball to me.
Tossing the ball around the yard with your brother,
Rounding up friends for an afternoon game on the sandlot
Having your parents calling you off the field for lunch or dinner, that’s baseball to me
Hitting a ball off a tee before knowing what a tee is
Rounding the bases, hearing your family and friends screaming their approval
Hitting your first real home run over a fence and trotting around the bases, that’s baseball to me
The opening day parade for your youth baseball league
Playing those extra special night games, under the lights
Finding out at those games if your rival team won or lost, that’s baseball to me.
The play on the senses, the feel of those warm summer nights, the smell of stale cigars, dirt, rain, pine tar and leather. The sound of the ball off the bat, the ball hitting the leather glove, your spikes crushing the dirt under your feet, the crowds murmur, cheering and booing, the yelling back and forth to your teammates and the yelling back and forth to your rivals, That’s baseball to me.
Having the great Ernie Harwell to listen to every night during the summers.
Having the great George Kell to listen to during the tv broadcasts
Watching future hall of famers Alan Trammell and Jack Morris
And then getting a chance to meet all of them in the flesh….that’s baseball to me!
Going to your first Major League baseball game,
Seeing how green the grass is in a big league ball park,
and seeing your hometown baseball heroes are real people and not images on your tv screen, that’s baseball to me.
Moving from Little League to the next level, most of you would know that as Mickey Mantle or Colt League.
Noticing a girl who you like has come to watch your game
Being distracted by that girl and striking out three times in the game
And then being too nervous to talk to her afterward, that’s baseball to me.
The language of the game – hit and run, fastball change up hum babe! Going yard, rip city, scalded dog, a 5 tool guy, couldn’t break a pane of glass! He’s got a piano on his back! Rally Caps! Clutch, nubber, post-game spread, rabbit ears, gapper, he hit it a country mile! He cued it, running with your hair on fire, 4A player, slidepiece, he’s got a cannon, the bullpen, skipper! He buzzed the tower! That’s Baseball to me
Nobody in baseball goes by their real name, It’s BC, Red, Billy, Schweg, Merg, Danny, Merv, Schnick, The Colonel, Barge, Tap, Cronk, Sully, Bobby P, Nacho, Richie, Cabby, Nashville, Droz, The Doofs, The Wizard, Whitey, Trish, E, Schultzie, Killer, Steamer, Jaybird, Lynchbro, Moose! Big Country, Country Breakfast, Pee Wee, Babe, The Hammer, The Cobra! Yes, That’s baseball to me!
Ben Drozdowski, Don Glenn, John Segal, Jim Cross, Doug Brown, Gary Kondratek, Bob McWilliams, Tommy “Mac”, Doug Brownie, Ozzie Vanbrabant, Frank Corej, Mark Monahan, Joe “Pal”, “1” College Baseball Hall of Famer Dave Keilitz, Dean Kriener and Tom Tresh- the 1962 American League Rookie of the Year and #57 on the list of #100 top Yankees of all time. They taught a young me how to play the game. That’s baseball to me.
The first time you charge the mound because the pitcher “buzzed the tower”
Then you learn it’s better to smash the ball back up the middle and teach him not to mess with you. (Although a little dust up between teams can be a whole lot of fun!)
Bravado….That’s baseball to me.
When you learn to read pitches
Hit a curveball
Take one to the opposite field….that’s baseball to me.
Hit the ball farther than you ever thought you could,
Throw it farther than you ever thought you could
Getting clocked on the radar gun, That’s Baseball to Me.
Championships as a youth, championships in High School, championships in American Legion Ball, Championships at the college level. That’s baseball to me.
Playing with several future big leaguers – Kevin Tapani, John Vanderwal, Shaun Hare, Dave Hollins
Playing against several future big leaguers – Bobby Witt, Robby Wine, Pete Incaviglia, Robin Ventura, Thomas Howard, Kevin Brown, John Marzano, Tim Naering, Scott Arnold, Barry Larkin, Chris Szabo, Hal Morris, Gary Wayne, Jim Abbott Scott Kamienicki, Chris Hoiles, Ron Rightnowar
Watching your hometown team come back to life after years of irrelevance under a crusty old baseball man….Jim Leyland
Getting the joy of watching one of the greatest hitters of all time play for your hometown team….Miguel Cabrera
Climbing the wall to steal a homerun
Having a rival climb the wall and steal a homerun from you
Playing in snow so heavy you hit a homerun, and nobody is really sure because the snowflakes are almost as big as the baseball!
And lastly watching your teammate dive for a ball into standing water even though it is cold enough to snow! That’s baseball to me!
Going over a lifetime of baseball thrills and chills leaves one exhilarated and exhausted. So many euphoric experiences that for me outweighed the pain of crushing losses at any level of the game
As the world begins a trip toward another year of warm summer nights, the crack of the bat, the ball hitting the glove and spikes crushing the dirt underneath you there comes a realization that your love for the game is eternal, a flame that never goes out…….that my friends is baseball to me!
Happy Opening Day Baseball Fans and Non Fans alike. It is truly a sign of warmer days to come!!!!