February 2, 2012 by Matt Musico
I was watching Moneyball last week and I heard Brad Pitt, who portrayed Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane, say that on a few different occasions throughout the movie. Obviously, I can’t help but agree with this statement because I love the game so much. Then, I tried to think about it in more detail and how this could possibly relate to even a casual fan. There are so many great things about the game of baseball that we don’t even realize. Some say that it is no longer America’s favorite past time, but when big news drops in the dead of winter (a la Prince Fielder, Albert Pujols), the entire nation is captivated for an afternoon. Many sports can be used as metaphors for life, but I feel as though baseball is the one sport that gets compared the most often.
We really only spend approximately three months out of the year without the game being played, so why do we miss it so much? We miss it because of what it signifies; beginning of the season is the unofficial start of spring and warm weather making it’s return after it’s winter hibernation. It marks new beginnings; teams with a poor season the year before have the opportunity to wipe the slate clean and feel optimistic about their chances to play into October and the bitter cold. Once the regular season starts, not only does the weather slowly get warmer, but daylight savings time comes into play and the days start to get longer and longer. Then, before you know it, the calendar turns to June and school is out for the summer. Being at a live baseball game in the summertime is the best because in my eyes, nothing is more American than sitting in a beautiful stadium in the middle of the summer, watching the nation’s favorite past time while drinking a nice beer.
As teams fight to stay in contention throughout the dog days of August only four teams from both the American and National League (five each starting this year) are fortunate enough to continue playing on into the fall, and the other 22 (20 now) teams that had visions of play-off baseball dancing in their dreams are gone until next year, coincidentally, just like the warm weather. Then, at the end of October, one team is left celebrating on the field and in the clubhouse and has the opportunity that just about every boy dreams of: to hoist the World Series trophy.
It’s hard not to be romantic about baseball. Why else, you ask? Well, all of the teams report to spring training right around Valentine’s Day. The Seattle Mariners are the most eager of the bunch; their pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report on February 12th. Is it ironic that a game that we love so much that has abandoned us for the last few months comes back to mend our broken hearts on what is argued to be the most romantic day of the year? I don’t think so.
Over the years, I have been able to collect some interesting books, quotes, and small cartoons about the game that I hold so dear to my heart. My mother sent me a newspaper cartoon a couple of years ago that I still have taped up on my wall. It shows two people talking to one another, with only one sentence being recorded, “Just when I think life starts to have no meaning, baseball starts again.”
Truer words have never been spoken. Like most of us baseball fans, I’m excited for pitchers and catchers to start reporting to camp over the next couple of weeks, and for my summer love affair to once again resurface.