|Fenway Park, Boston|
I love the history of the game and my history with it. I was at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium in 1973 the night Hank Aaron hit his 700th home run. I saw Reggie Jackson hit a home run off Tom Seaver at Fenway in 1986. I have a Cal Ripen, Jr. autographed baseball from after The Streak. I get jazzed remembering that I wore #8 in Little League (playing for the Yankees) because Carl Yastrzemski (Yaz!)was my favorite player. I once saw Dale Murphy slam a pinch-hit home run off Doc Gooden to win a game- with a broken bone in his hand! Legendary! I love the details, like knowing that when I was 13 I hit a home run with a Ralph Garr model bat I got at a Braves game on Bat Night. And it saddens me that most of you don't know who Ralph (the Roadrunner) Garr is... Because the game never changes- 9 innings, 3 strikes, 3 outs, 90 feet between bases, 60 feet, 6 inches from pitcher's mound to home plate- it is the one sport where you can legitimately argue about who was better, Honus Wagner or Derek Jeter (it's Wagner, by the way) because the era doesn't matter. I love that baseball is still better on the radio than it is on TV. I love that I can still look at a box score (if I can find one anymore) and tell you all about a game I did not see. I love this game, and I treasure this time of the year- opening day. It's all about hope and new beginnings. It just makes me smile.
In many parts of my life, I am a progressive, someone who enjoys and embraces change. When it comes to baseball, I am a purist. I have never liked the DH or analytics or shifts. No baseball team (including my beloved Rays) should play in a dome unless it has a retractable roof. It is criminal- CRIMINAL! - that there have been playoff games in Tampa with the temperature at 80 degrees and not a cloud in the sky, and they were playing baseball indoors. I believe that anyone who suggests tearing down Wrigley Field or Fenway Park is guilty of treason. Those are the 2 "sanctuaries" of baseball. I have attended several games at both, and they were among the most special days of my life. I believe that middle schools/junior high schools should teach students the mathematical equations for ERA (earned run average) and batting average as part of the curriculum. And I believe that hitting a baseball is the single most difficult task in all of sports. The very best fail to get a hit 2 out of 3 tries. I love this game.
|Ralph Garr, 1973|
Have I convinced you yet? :) A full season of great stories lies ahead. Put me in coach. I'm ready to play!