Friday, October 05, 2007

A lost love

Its October. Halloween, changes of season, colored leaves and highschool football games. But what I used to think the most about October was baseball, playoffs and the fall classic- The World Series.

As a young lad, I would huddle in front of the TV on Saturday afternoons to catch a glimpse of my heroes. Back then there wasn't 24 hour sports channels and the Internet to bombard you with info. The newspaper, radio, the nightly news, and that one prime time game were the pulse you would have to take to get your info. I knew every player and could give you a scouting report on all of them. I LOVED BASEBALL! I played ball with my friends in the street and also played organized ball. I loved the fact that this was a team sport and yet it was a individual sport. I loved when I would walk up to the plate and look that pitcher in the eye and play the mental chess game that hitting is. Would he throw me a curve? Would he throw me the fastball that I hit the last time I faced him? It was exciting for me and I couldn't get enough of it. My room was full of pictures and I would play Strat-o-matic for hours ( a baseball board game). It was a source of entertainment for me for many years. Even when I had to switch allegiances and become a Twins fan ( when I moved from calif to minn) I was fortunate enough to see tons of games in the plastic dump ( the HHH metrodome...not a good baseball park!) and root my Twins on to World Series victories in 87 and 91. These were great times. I loved my baseball...I was still playing baseball ( no slow pitch softball for me!) into my 30s and still knew all of the professional players and could give you info ad nausim. Then it happened. The game changed and I did too.

One of the main things that changed was the fact that baseballs sacred history changed. The fact that Roger Maris record of 61 homeruns is now almost eclipsed yearly is saddening to me. The fact that it is known that most of these athletes that passed these records were on performance enhancing drugs at the time has tarnished what was the one thing Baseball had going for it. HISTORY. We all know about Barry Bonds breaking Hank Aarons record for homeruns a couple of months ago. I hate to admit that I sat there with no emotion as I saw him circle the bases. It seemed so empty to see this "machine" break the most hallowed of all baseball records. It just seems like the heart has been torn out of the game because of this tainting . Another thing is that today its hard to really latch onto a team and really become attached to it. Free agency has turned baseball rosters into a revolving door of players. Back in the day, you had players that spent 15 -20 years in the same uniform. Most players today play for a average of 4-5 teams in a long career. It just makes it different.

I still watch baseball. I still know most of the players. But its not the same. I feel more detached about it. I don't feel the passion for it like I used to. But every once in a while I see something that makes me miss it like I used to. Like a couple weeks ago, I saw a young mother and her son playing catch in the yard below me. I sat there and smiled. It was so simple and powerful. The game is still those things in its most simple form, but its hard to look past the other junk that tarnishes it. Maybe its what getting older brings and you see those kinds of things.

Baseball, thanks for all that you gave me over the years. I am still out there, a little more cynical...but still believe in ya!


Barbara (aka Layla) said...

Ironically while reading this post a "Breaking News" email came in saying that Marion Jones pleaded guilty to steroid use 2002.


Hey, great post, your'e not a bad writer for a dude from Cali-sotta.

Lori said...

I think sports are different than they used to be. In the 80's I loved watching NBA know...the Larry Bird days! But now, it seems more like a production, a "show"...and not a game at all.

Still, when you see the raw beginnings like the mother and her son, that's where you see it at its purest form.