The First Day of Spring

People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball.  I’ll tell you what I do.  I stare out the window and wait for spring.  ~Rogers Hornsby

Rogers Hornsby (The Rajah April 27, 1896 – January 5, 1963) had it right. Springtime warms the land and thaws the grass and makes the ground once again available for play. Now, the vernal equinox may be the official beginning of spring, but to me, spring begins once you hear those epic two words: “Play Ball”.

When they start the game, they don’t yell, “Work ball.”  They say, “Play ball.”  ~Willie Stargell

2012 Orioles

Today marks the 20th Anniversary of the opening of Camden Yards in Baltimore. It also marks the 24th year that I’ve attended the home opener in Baltimore. Back in 1988, I picked up my then girlfriend Stacy, and on a whim, drove up to Memorial Stadium on 33rd Street to join in the festivities. We bought a couple tickets in the parking lot, and ended up sitting in the far reaches of the upper left field deck near the top. It seemed like miles from home plate. I don’t even remember if the O’s won or lost that game, but I do remember having fun, freezing my butt off, and thinking that Opening day was the best day of the year. I haven’t missed one since.

You can’t sit on a lead and run a few plays into the line and just kill the clock.  You’ve got to throw the ball over the goddamn plate and give the other man his chance.  That’s why baseball is the greatest game of them all.  ~Earl Weaver

The Earl of Baltimore makes a good point. Baseball is the greatest game for several reasons: There is no clock. Every team, every batter, every pitch can change the game. The game doesn’t end until someone wins. It’s played outside. On grass. It’s a child’s game played by men. Those who disparage baseball by saying it’s boring or slow simply don’t understand baseball. Every nuance, pitch, signal, motion, swing can change the course of the game. I love nothing better than a 0-0 tie after 9 innings. There is SO much going on in those 9 innings. If you don’t see it, then you don’t get it. Baseball is a thinking game more than any other game.

What are we at the park for except to win?  I’d trip my mother.  I’d help her up, brusher her off, tell her I’m sorry.  But mother don’t make it to third.  ~Leo Durocher

Which brings me to the 2012 Baltimore Orioles. My prediction? More of the same. Just would like to see some of the young arms progress. Probably looking at the cellar of the AL East once again. Oh well, at least tickets are cheap, and there are plenty of empty seats.

Baseball, to me, is still the national pastime because it is a summer game.  I feel that almost all Americans are summer people, that summer is what they think of when they think of their childhood.  I think it stirs up an incredible emotion within people.  ~Steve Busby

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One comment on “The First Day of Spring
  1. sportsjim81 says:

    As a fellow Baltimorean and O’s fan since I can remember, I unfortunately have to agree with your prediction. It is a shame that we are reduced to considering “the young arms progressing” as a successful season, but considering the depths we have fallen to, you have to start somewhere. Loved this post, along with the quotes, they were great. When you get a chance, check out my post today about the downward spiral of the O’s and the unlikely and surprising reason for it.

    http://sportsjim81.wordpress.com/2012/04/06/did-cal-ripken-jr-accidentally-destroy-baltimore-baseball-3/

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