We are almost two weeks into February, and although it may be snowing right now, Baseball Season is in the air. NCAA Baseball games start in 4 days and Major League ball begins at the end of the month.
Right now, grounds crews are clearing snow off the fields and I’ll be down at Pirates Spring Training in 19 days, basking in the beauty of Florida and all the baseball I can handle. How’s that for a solid Spring Break?
Let’s get one thing straight. There’s something undeniably special about baseball and baseball season. Maybe it’s the spring weather. Maybe it’s the 162-game regular season. Maybe it’s the smell of hotdogs, popcorn, and a finely packed infield. Maybe it’s even a distant fond memory of your dad taking you to your very first MLB game.
Whatever it is, wherever you choose to see a game, you can without a doubt declare that baseball season is the best.
Let’s get another thing straight. I love baseball season for many reasons, and none of them involve this meme:
I love baseball season because, for one, the week doesn’t build up to ONE GAME. How many games can you fit into a week comfortably? Alright… Then add 3. There’s hardly ever a break in baseball from February to November, and the fans eat it up.
We’ll talk next about the fan bases. What other sport buys onesies like the ones below?
What other sport dresses their newborns up and places infants in equipment while making it look so adorable?
Baseball fans are incredibly loyal. Team allegiances run deep. Years and years of fans follow in the familial fan base footsteps. Yankees and Red Sox fans can be friends, but once the game begins, it’s a free-for-all. Fan brawls are also crazy intense. Baseball scores waver constantly, and tensions are naturally high. Type “Baseball fan brawls” into Youtube and you’d be amazed. Team loyalty is unwavering.
Next: the free stuff. Minor League ball has sponsored promotional nights almost every game. The crazier the better! I learned how to play the harmonica at a Washington Wild Things game, for goodness sake. MLB promotions are fun too, but there’s really nothing like waving free rally towels and bouncing bobbleheads while you watch some up-and-coming all-stars.
Another aspect of baseball that continues to bring me back is the unpredictable nature of the game. Whether it’s in-field double plays, Grand Slams, or a risky swing to make it a full count in the bottom of the 9th when you’re tied with the winning run on third, baseball never fails to lead the fans on an emotional rollercoaster. It’s in make-or-break moments like those that the sport psychologist in me adores baseball the most.
Then, there’s the moment the ball hits the bat and ricochets through the air, and the crowd, once loud, all silently watch it spiral perfectly over the left field fence to win the game. That’s the moment when it doesn’t matter who you are. It doesn’t matter how old you are or where you’re from. It doesn’t matter what your views on politics are or what religion you are affiliated with. That’s your team. They won the game for you, the fans. In that split second that the ball disappears behind the outfield wall and the PA announcer yells “And it’s out of here!” the world seems to stop and dopamine rushes to your brain. Suddenly, instead of thousands of strangers, you are surrounded by friends.
There are also fireworks. They’re pretty cool too.
— Austin Carpenter (@Austin_Carp51) July 2, 2016
Now, to the actual athletes. Baseball players are their own breed. Football players are rough and tough. Golfers are quiet and up in their own heads. Baseball players are the good ole boys of professional sports. A dugout littered with seeds and sporting a half-empty tub of Dubble Bubble is the best kind.