Tuesday, March 29, 2016
You can all yell about Basketball's March Madness, Football's tailgating and Super Bowl, Golf's Major Tournaments starting in April with The Masters. But for me real sports do not begin until we are back in the Baseball season. All the rest are interesting and can hold my attention for some time but the real competition comes for me when the Umpire yells "Play Ball" and the Baseball season begins. I'm a New Yorker, downstate, which is quite different from those living upstate. It can seem to many that the difference between upstate and downstate New Yorkers are almost like living in two completely separate States. And this is probably true, we are different in many ways but are held together by a bond in rooting for our major league Baseball teams.
The modern era sees New York with the New York Yankees and The New York Mets. New Yorkers living on the border with Canada root for one of these teams just like we downstaters do. Back in the day we had three teams, The Brooklyn Dodgers and The New York Giants deserted us for the west coast and only the Yankees stayed true to New York. The Mets replaced those two teams in 1962 when they entered the National League. The Yanks are stationed in The Bronx, the Mets in Flushing, Queens. I root for the Yanks. They have been with me ever since I was born. I root for the Mets if the Yanks aren't involved. When there is a World Series we call "The Subway Series" when the Yanks represent the American League and The Mets the National League my team is the Yanks but even within my family I have relatives pulling for the Mets. They are die hard National league fans and still hate those two teams that deserted us for the west coast.
There is nothing like being at a live baseball game. It is a summer game but sometimes because of expanded schedules it plays in wintery conditions. I like the summer day games the best. The sun is warm. The beer or soda is cool. The Franks always taste good at the ballpark. The smell of the newly mowed grass is intoxicating and all the ball players are young and full of life. Most are between 20 and 35 years of age some are younger a bit or older a bit but everyone of the players are young at heart playing a game they grew up playing. When the bat hits the ball the sound is magical and the flight of the ball with its great arc is grand. Sometimes the outfielder catches up with the ball and makes a great exciting catch as he leaps and tumbles as his glove keeps the ball in the pocket of the glove. Other times the ball keeps flying right out of the playing area for a home run. As exciting as this play is so is the opposite play called a bunt. The pitcher throws the ball towards home plate at 95 miles an hour the batter squares himself and shortens his hold on the bat with hands separated he pushes the ball between the pitcher and first baseman and runs to first base for a bunt hit.
There is a lot of yelling and screaming at a ballgame. Sometimes we might even call our hero a bum for striking out or committing an error. He knows we really didn't mean it as we cheer him the next time he comes up with the bases loaded or makes a great play in the field. As the game ends hopefully with The Yanks winning, or The Mets we can go home a bit exhausted but satisfied that Baseball is back, God's in his heavens and all is well in the world.