I know what you are thinking – didn’t the Major-League baseball season begin a few weeks ago? Midway through April, haven’t most teams played at least a dozen games? The short answer is, yes. The 2018 season opened on Thursday, March 29, and I was lucky enough to watch it live with my good friend Meir (a super-fan) in Israel.
But, I was so far away from where the action happens. After I watched opening day (at 11:00 at night, semi-conscious), it seemed as though the baseball season really launched without me. If I wasn’t there to watch the games on TV or go to a game with my son, it was as though the season hadn’t really begun.
We arrived home from our whirlwind trip on Thursday, and my team, the Toronto Blue Jays, had an off day. I was so jet lagged on Friday that I slept through the game. I was ready, both mentally and physically, to watch the Jays play Cleveland on Saturday afternoon. Rain got in the way. Same on Sunday. Then a chunk of ice had to smash through the roof of the Rogers Centre in Toronto on Monday. Another game postponed.
Finally, on Tuesday, baseball came back to my life. A double-header. A double-whammy. My dream, hours and hours of baseball, all afternoon and evening. It was a slow start to the first game, but then the boys woke up and started to whack the ball in every direction. 11-3 final score. No complaints here. I continued on, to watch game 2, which the Jays won in the bottom of the 10th. I was on pins and needles, but it was a great ending, thanks to Luke Maile.
Many people complain that baseball is too slow. It is definitely not the sport of choice for people who like fast-paced action-packed sports. It’s one of the few sports (maybe golf too) where you get a mix of athletes who are in the best of shape and others who are overweight and out-of-shape.
You get to know the life story of the commentators as they share their tales between pitches. With an average length of just over 3 hours, watching a complete baseball game is a commitment.
And I love it. I love every minute of it. I don’t care how slow it moves, that some of the players can barely jog to first base or that a blister puts a guy on the disabled list for ten days. Baseball has personality.
Here are some of the things that I love about baseball, in no particular order:
- A team can score up to four points (okay, runs) with one swing of the bat.
- The manager (known in almost every other sport as the head coach) wears a uniform, just like the players, who are half his age. Even the players who are out of shape look better in the uniform, but kudos to him for putting it on each night.
- That I can get a ticket, in a decent seat, for under $30. I may spend more than that on snacks when I’m there, but that’s my choice.
- Even during and after an ice storm, it feels like summer when I’m watching a game.
- That I can write while I watch the game, or make dinner, or carry on a full conversation with the person next to me, because the action is slow enough.
- Endless statistics. How many players have hit a home run, during a home game, with a player on second base and two outs? Baseball has an answer for that.
- Great catches. Great, diving catches (thanks in large part to Kevin Pillar!).
- Players jump on each other, like they just won the World Series, when they win in extra innings.
Did I mention that I am thrilled that baseball is back? And because it’s only April, I have months ahead to enjoy it. Whether my team wins or loses (okay, I always want the Jays to win), I will always be a fan of baseball.