“Ray. People will come, Ray. They’ll come to Iowa for reasons they can’t even fathom. They’ll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they’re doing it. They’ll arrive at your door as innocent as children longing for the past. ‘Of course, we won’t mind if you look around,’ you’ll say. ‘It’s only $20 per person.’ They’ll pass over the money without even thinking about it. For it is money they have and the peace they like. They’ll walk out to the bleachers and sit in their shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They’ll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they’ll watch the game and it’ll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they’ll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come, Ray. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh…people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come.”
James Earl Jones as Terence Mann in Field of Dreams
Baseball is back. The six month, 162 game march to the postseason in October is underway. It will be long, tiring, and magical. Taylor was right when he talked about baseball being different than other sports, especially on opening day. There is something different about baseball. It’s rich tradition from Jackie Robinson to Hank Aaron to Lou Gehrig to Stan Musial to Ron Santo and Ernie Banks. The list goes on and on. Over a century of professional baseball has been played across the United States and Canada. Baseball is a part of our past, it is our pastime. Football (hand egg for you Europeans) may be becoming more popular but it will never have the tradition and the history that baseball does.
Although not all of the years have been good. Baseball has had its fair share of dark times. From players gambling on and throwing games, PEDs, and strikes, baseball has been as susceptible as the other sports. Thankfully, baseball hasn’t had a strike since the cancellation of the 1994 postseason. Don’t worry Cubs fans, the cubbies didn’t have a shot that year. It would appear that the one last black spot on our beloved sport is the PED issue. Hopefully, PEDs can be eliminated from the game.
Baseball is a part of us. It has marked the time. So many things have changed over the years but baseball really has remained constant. Century old stadiums give us a look into the past. The memorabilia that is now enshrined in museums and more modern ballparks reminds us of why we love the game. In all of the sporting events I’ve been to (all except a regular season NFL game), I have never had the same feeling that I have when I step into a ballpark. The buzz in the air and the smell of the stadium is unique to baseball. From my earliest days sitting behind home plate at old Bush Stadium (Indians park before Victory Field) or Riverfront (former Reds park) or trips up to Wrigley, I’ve always loved going to the games. I love being 20 minutes away from Coors Field now, even though I don’t get to go as much as I like. To me there are very few things better than a day at the ballgame. The sights, the sounds, the smells, the crack of the bat, and the tradition, all serve as reminders of all the things that used to be good. A few hours of sitting in the sun or shade and watching the America’s game not worrying about anything else at the time. All of this is why I love baseball and why I am glad that it is back.
Have a great rest of the weekend.