10 Reasons Why I'm Looking Forward to Baseball
The beginning of baseball season is only three days away? Holy smokes! How did that happen? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. Even though I’m one of the few people who actually still have a live March Madness bracket and don’t mind cold weather, I’m pretty much ready to say goodbye to March and to madness and to the winter chill, for that matter. And nothing makes the skies clear up and temps rise like that first week of baseball. Being a fan of the Mariners and the Mets, it’s not like I’m going into the 2013 campaign with unbridled optimism about their chances but, still, there’s plenty to be excited about. Here’s what I mean.
1. Ichiro. He’s 39-years-old and now playing for my least favorite team in the world but I still never tire of watching Ichiro Suzuki play baseball. He’s one of those rare guys who you simply can’t compare to any other person who ever played the game. Though he had definitely run his course in Seattle, I was happy to see him be pretty much the only guy who played well for the Yankees last postseason. It’s a long shot, but I’d still love to see him get a crack at 3,000 hits. He’s 394 shy and if you counted all the hits he had playing in Japan, he’s already way over 3,000.
2. Hot dogs. Baseball means hot dogs and hot dogs mean summer and summer means beer… and more hot dogs. I’ve had plenty of franks outside the ballpark but it’s not quite the same. Dodger Dog? Sure. Fenway Frank? You betcha. It really doesn’t matter, just give me an extra mustard please.
3. Matt Harvey. The new #2 guy in the Mets starting rotation looked brilliant at times during his late-season call-up last year. Someone needs to help fill the gaping hole created when the Mets traded Cy-Young-winner and highly-entertaining knuckleballer R.A. Dickey to Toronto, and I’m hoping that Harvey’s that guy. If so, the Mets just might start looking like that club from the early 80s that started putting things together with guys like Gooden, Darling, and Fernandez.
4. The Miami Marlins. Not because of their baseball team but because of their lack of one. Man oh man did Jeffery Loria fleece South Florida. Seriously, how many live bodies do you think will show up to watch this team? When they were winning World Series they pretty much had to Shanghai fans. It won’t be long before Loria turns his new stadium into a Water Park/Casino. Hell, it already looks like one.
5. Felix Hernandez. Do I really need to explain this one? The guy’s the best, and for once the Mariners did the right thing and signed him to a long-term deal. Long live King Felix!
6. Taking my kid to a game. I’m pretty sure she’s not ready for a full nine-inning major league affair, but we did manage to check out some spring training action and she wasn’t clamoring to leave, which was great. Thinking maybe a kid-friendly minor league game out in Coney Island would be just the ticket.
7. The Yankees potentially stinking. Look, I’m not stupid enough to start kicking dirt on the Yankees’ grave just yet, but they do finally seem somewhat vulnerable, and it has nothing to do with the Blue Jays. That Teixeira injury in particular could really hurt both offensively and defensively. Funnily enough, this same entry will appear on my “10 Things I’m Not Looking Forward to…” list tomorrow.
8. Stolen bases. I like home runs as much as the next guy, but PED shortages have been known to lead to power outages. When this happens, speed becomes king. It would be really great to see teams start running again.
9. Baseball movies. I’m one of those people who can’t watch a summer movie in the middle of winter, just as I can’t view something like A Christmas Story in July, so it will be great to queue up any number of fine movies featuring our national pastime. The Bad News Bears (the Walter Matthau version please), Bull Durham, The Natural, Field of Dreams, The Sandlot… there’s a lot of them. Just thinking of lines like “Superb, Lupus” and “He f***s like he pitches… sorta all over the place” brings a smile to my face.
10. The banter. Whether you’re sitting in the bleachers or on a stool in your favorite tavern, there’s nothing quite like talking baseball. There’s no other sport that so lends itself to conversation, debate, trivia, and statistical analysis. It can turn complete strangers into old friends and anyone with an opinion into either an expert or a know-nothing moron. In short, it’s great.
Baseball is a pretty subjective experience, so feel free to chime in with what you’re looking forward to. Again, back tomorrow with the flip side of the coin.