I have been told by friends, many of who aren’t baseball fans themselves, that I should try to write for some sort of baseball site or blog, or start my own. I think most of them say that because they wish I’d just shut up about it every once in a while and if I had other outlets, I’d leave them alone. I wouldn’t bring up as many anecdotal stories of some nineteenth century player who they could not care less about. I wouldn’t tell them stories of teams and leagues that have long since folded. Their hope probably is that they wouldn’t have to listen to me yammer on about whatever baseball book I just read and the very interesting things I learned from it, things that to them are the very opposite of interesting. Well to that I say hell no, thank you.
I know just how awful baseball fans are. We are terrible people. If someone doesn’t agree with us about a player or team or the best way to evaluate performance, they are a stupid idiot bandwagon fan who knows nothing and obviously just hates the game and wants to see it ruined. I know how y’all are, okay, how WE are, and I don’t need that in my life. Though it is in my life to a point, through connecting with other fans via social media and occasionally (pretty much everyday) debating with them. However, when we agree or are united behind our team we are a family and love each other…so it makes up for the bickering. I’m still not ready to put my opinions out there only to be mocked by those who always know better than everyone. Nope. No. Nein.
I will, however share that I am a cranklet. A die hard, crazy, obsessive fan of baseball. Not just of my team, but of the sport and it’s beautiful history. If you have never watched Ken Burns’ Baseball, you’re missing out. Even if you aren’t a huge baseball crazy, it is a must see at least once. (Most everything Burns puts to film is, really.) I watch it at least once a year. I normally start the offseason with it. To soften the hangover that begins the day after the World Series ends and doesn’t let up much until Spring Training begins. If the game itself isn’t poetry (which it is, and anyone who says otherwise is a stupid idiot ban…), it’s history definitely is.
The way many Americans feel about football today is the way most of our great-grandparents, their parents, and their parents felt about baseball. It truly was America’s pastime, and because of that its history is glorious. Its history is honestly why, besides the greatness of the game itself, I love it as much as I do. Not only the history of the professional game, but the history of the neighborhood games, the town teams, the personal relationship that was available to its fans. The fact that millions of American boys and girls, men and women have loved and played the sport decade after decade, year after year for over 170 years. For nearly three quarters of country’s existence baseball as been part of the lives of it’s citizens, and part of our national identity. Hard as they try, football nor basketball can beat that.
Despite the heartbreak my team has put me through (you really couldn’t catch that ball, Nelson Cruz?), baseball is something that, whether reading about it or watching it, brings me great joy and comfort. I can go on and on about the reason’s I love the history of baseball so much, (and the lord knows I probably will in future posts) and how that makes me love the game itself even more, but the feelings I get from watching a game isn’t something so easily described. Nor are the reasons behind those feelings. All I know is they are there, and I don’t ever want to find myself in a time or place where they aren’t.