OK, OK, so the Super Bowl is over and it was once again a New England Patriots thing and I certainly don’t want to belabor it any longer, I’ll just move past it.
One of the best things about the final gun of the Super Bowl comes in knowing that in less than a month those magic words will once again adorn the lips of fans everywhere, “Pitcher and catchers report to spring training.”
Yes, indeed. Spring training, where the romance of baseball for the year goes on its first date with those who support it most.
Let me say there are different levels of fans, they range from the casual fan who watches the World Series and not much else, to the hardcore, die hard there is no-greater-game-than-baseball fan. You can just about guess where I fit in that list.
I was telling a friend just a day ago what my biggest bucket list item would be. I told them, in no uncertain terms, it would be having the ability to travel to every Major League park in the country and watching at least one game.
To me it is the ultimate vacation.
Getting back on point, there are few things in our sports world greater than baseball. It is the only sport where the defense has possession of the ball. It is also the only sport where their are no turnovers.
It is also the only sport not dependent upon a clock to determine the outcome. It is solely dependent upon the players on the field and when you simply run out of outs.
Baseball allows us the opportunity to watch more than one battle at a time such as pitcher vs. hitter, team vs. team, base runner vs. pitcher and catcher and infielder and manager vs. manager in their decision making.
The National Pastime is only as strong as the history it provides us, and it’s truly strong. There has been baseball since the early days of the 20th Century and there have been changes in baseball to match the changing times.
Around 1920 the spitball was outlawed, with those who threw it as their predominant pitch grandfathered in to continue until they retired. This is just an example of how the sport and the history of the country were evolving in unison.
Baseball grew and migrated across the land, from large cities where the Major League games were and are played to the small towns across America where Little League all the way to Minor League Baseball has established roots. Roots that continue to become ingrained.
You may call baseball boring, and if that’s how you feel then I won’t try to change your mind, but to a true baseball fan it is anything but boring.
To watch the pitcher and catcher decide how to throw to a batter, only to see their plan spoiled by a rocket liner past the third baseman for a triple in the gap, is nothing short of majestic.
Or to see an overconfident hitter come to the plate with the bases loaded and two out in the bottom of the ninth, only to see the pitcher throw three smoking hot fastballs past him to strike him out and walk off in celebration, is nothing short of amazing.
So get out the gloves, balls and bats, it’s nearly time for pitchers and catchers to report.
Rick Curl is a reporter with the Daily Record. He can be reached by telephone at 910-230-2037. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.