Monday, March 16, 2009

The Passion Of The Fans

RT Staff Note: Over the past three weeks we have been talking about attitude of players and parents when it comes to baseball. But, what about the fan? It’s the passion of the fan that has kept this game going for so many generations. If players could have a fraction of the passion that many fans I know have, then the game would be even more perfect than it already is. Here’s a article we found from William Baker.

America's pastime, such a fitting description. For most fans it encompasses the majority of their year. It starts in April and doesn't end until October. For me and a lot of people it becomes the soundtrack of the summer. Whenever I'm grilling out or cleaning up the vehicle or just doing anything outside, it will be the sound ringing in the background.

I know a lot of people around the world cannot figure out why baseball means so much to Americans. I can't say for sure what it is for everyone else, I can only speak for myself. Yes the games are long and the seasons even longer. The game drags for a lot of the time you are watching it. But then out of nowhere it gets exciting. A player walks, then another one singles up the middle. Now there are two guys on and your favorite player, who can change the game with one swing of the bat, coming to the plate. Now in the middle of a team driven game, there becomes a one on one battle of mind and skill. The pitcher is backed into a corner. He can't put the guy on, he would load the bases. But he also can't give in because as I said this guy can change the game with one swing of the bat. Then there is the batter, standing alone at the plate trying to guess where the pitches are going to be. Is the pitcher going to surprise him and lay them over the plate. Or is he going to try and paint the corners and get him to chase bad pitches.

Depending on which team you are rooting for, the glorious outcome can come in a different fashions. The pitcher could strike him out, he could cause him to hit into a double play, or he could hit a meaningless fly ball out. Now if your for the batter you hope for other outcomes. Your biggest hope is for the player to hit a massive homerun that towers out of the stadium, putting a devastating blow to the game and the pitchers mindset. Or at the very least hit a long fly ball that gets a run home.

Now to a lot of you this may sound very shallow and unimportant. But to those that grew up listening and watching the game it is very important for many different reasons. For me baseball is summer. I see it live, watch it on TV or listen to it on the radio. They are all appealing in different ways. But the root of all them to me is the bond they have given me with my father. One of my earliest memories in life is going to a Cardinals game with my dad. I was five and he took me along with my grandfather. I remember walking through the tunnel going from darkness to light. Then seeing this huge stadium with people of all walks of life filling the seats. I spent the game setting between my dad and my grandpa and then my dad leaning over to point out to me who Lou Brock was. I don't remember a whole lot about the game or the day other than those moments, what I do remember is I didn't want to be anywhere else.

Baseball is part of America and it's society. Probably more so than any other sport. It may have lost some of it's thunder over the last decade or so with all the allegations of drug use and the increasing popularity of football. As I said though it is the sport that brought an everlasting bond between me and my father. Not that we don't have others but this is the one that held through during anything. To borrow a line from a movie, when me and my father could talk about nothing else we could always talk about baseball. Because of the longevity that players in this game experience, many of my dad's favorite players were still playing as I got interested in the game. Because they were his favorites they became mine. And as I picked some of the newer players as my favorites they in turn became some of my dad's. So let me close by saying this, baseball wasn't and still isn't some meaningless game that tied up the airwaves. It was and always will be a way to connect to my father. It's a way to bring back memories of times long forgotten. But most importantly it's a strong common bond that bridges the gaps of different generations.

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