A Winter Milestone Has Been Achieved

Well, the Super Bowl is done.  And thus ends the football season.  And now, I wait with anticipation for the sweet sounds of Spring Training.  Never really have been much of a football fan.  I guess the best that anyone could use as a description is that of a “casual watcher” to apply to me.  Most Sundays, I would turn on the television, sit down on the couch with a laptop, and let the game take on the role of “background noise”.  And slowly, I would finish working on whatever I was doing – lean back – and fall asleep.  That’s primarily what American Football does for me.

Now…baseball on the other hand…now this is a sport that I can really get super involved in.  I watch every single pitch, I guess at the strategies of the hitters, pitchers, catchers, overall defense, and even the base-runners.  Each moment provides a singular struggle between the two sides…and depending on the score, the strategy could completely change for one side or the other.  When I was a kid, I dreamed of being a catcher.  I wanted to be like Johnny Bench.  And at that time – it was completely true.  I was the largest kid in my class – far bigger than the kids two grades ahead of me.  And then, after the 8th grade – I stopped growing.  As all the other kids got taller, I stayed the same height.  5’5″.  And I’ve remained at that height from that point to today.  As all the other kids got taller, I was slowly pushed out from behind the plate – and out into the outfield.  When the taller kids could cover more ground with their long strides, I was pushed back to the infield – to the least desired position:  second-base.  I wasn’t all that good either.  As the kids got taller, their arms got stronger, and they threw the ball harder and harder.  Soon, instead of me getting solid wood on a pitch – I was getting the bat knocked out of my hands.  My time on the field was drawing to a close.  Luckily, I was playing another sport – where shorter players actually have more of an advantage:  soccer.  I excelled at that sport.  But I still longed for baseball.

I’ll spend hours and hours examining statistics from seasons gone by – as well as the season that is currently underway.  And while I still have an unbelievable appetite for soccer (both playing and watching), I still have my love for baseball.  I’ve watched the Ken Burn’s documentary presentation.  I have several baseball-related books on my shelves.  I’m aware of how the social climate in America is tightly woven in the fabric of the sport.  Its one of those things that owns a part of me — something I can never pull myself away from.  And now, with the National Football League season finished, one of those milestones of winter has been reached – and we’re one step closer to the next season of baseball.  What a happy day for me, indeed.  I look forward to hearing those immortal words on Opening Day:  “play ball!”

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