I hate baseball. My favorite team is, and always has been, the Orioles, but I cannot tell you one player’s name on the roster. I take that back….if you let me go back 50 years, I can almost name their starting line up – Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Boog Powell, Mark Belanger, Paul Blair, Davey Johnson, Jim Palmer….
Baseball is a plodding sport with way more down time than ball-in-play time. The time the ball is in motion in an average 3 1/2 hour major league ball game is between 15-17 minutes. The rest of time is chocked full of exciting practice swings, conferences at the pitcher’s mound, running on the field and off the field and spitting. Lots and Lots of spitting. There are 162 games in the season!! 162!!! That’s grueling!! The success rate in the sport is abysmal. A good hitter might get a hit 3 out 10 times at bat and the division leading teams have just over a 55% winning percentage.
Maybe I don’t hate baseball, though.
My son, Andy, who is a Baltimore resident, took us to an Orioles game at Camden Yards a few years ago. It was glorious!! The smell of the hot dogs, the grass, popcorn and sunblock were intoxicating. The crack of the bat, the play at the plate and the 7th inning stretch while singing Take Me Back to the Ball Game brought me back to a 10 years old version of myself, who would sit within 3 feet of the old black and white tv and watch his heroes play.
So we sat there that day in Camden Yards sharing stories with each other and trying to make each other laugh and talking about our plans for the future. Side note – If you can only go to one Major League Ball Park in your life; make it Camden Yards. It reset the standard for parks across the nation and it is gorgeous!!
My favorite movies are baseball movies – Field of Dreams and The Natural. I literally go into a trance-like state when I watch both of those movies. I have to sneak watch them when they’re on for fear Lynn will give me the business for watching them for the 100th time.
Yesterday, Lynn and I took off for a noon game at The Diamond to watch the double AA team – The Flying Squirrels. I sprung for the the good seats – second row, field level at the end of the Squirrels dugout. For the past two weeks the heat and humidity have been oppressive, but the day before, a storm system blew thru the mid-Atlantic and scrubbed it clean. Mid 80’s, almost no humidity and sunny. It was Day Care day at The Diamond so there were thousands of kids there and dozens upon dozens of vans and buses (I’m not gonna lie. The fact that there were thousands of kids there was one of the main reasons I bought the better seats. We love kids, but time-served.)
The guy in front of us was what you might call a baseball aficionado. He knew all about the players, stats and was fun to have around. We talked about UVA basketball (he had a UVA cap), the old Parker Field and life in general. I told Lynn some stories and we laughed and had a relaxing fun time. So zen. The Squirrel’s lost horribly. They’d be pretty good if they could hit and field. We didn’t care. It was a sunny day and we were together. So what’s to hate about baseball then? A sunny day, the smells of the ballpark all experienced with your best gal. You know..I think I love baseball.