I was just reading Bryan Sargent’s latest blog post for the Phillies (if you have not read it yet, go HERE now. It really is a phenomenal piece of writing). Well, it got me to thinking about why I love baseball, and why I sit here and not only root for a team that has not been relevant since the mid to late 1990′s, but why I still believe that they can return to relevance, even to prominence.
There are a lot of things to love about the sport of baseball. It has been around for over a century, but the rules have remained largely unchanged over the years. Sure they have been tweaked, but the distance between home and 1st was 90 feet in 1910 and it is 90 feet in 2010. The defense still controls the ball (this is the only major sport I can think of where this is true). They still play “Thank God I’m A Country Boy” during the 7th inning stretch at Camden Yards like they did at Memorial Stadium (sure it is a local thing, but I watched John Denver standing on the dugout, singing the song during the 1983 World Series, and once a song and a team are that intertwined in your mind when you are 10, they are always connected. I hear that song and think of Rick Dempsey the same way that older Pittsburgh fans hear “We Are Family” and think of Willie Stargel and Dave Parker). There is a timeless quality to it that no other sport can match.
Spring is renewal, it is rebirth. It is plants waking up from a long sleep and blooming. It is animals coming out of their winter hiding places or coming back from their winter sojurns and bringing life and color and sound back to the day. And (hopefully this won’t be too much of a stretch), it really feels like the Orioles are finally coming out of their decade plus 2 years long hibernation. And even though Brian Roberts still hasn’t played in a Spring Training game because of his balky back, and even though Jeremy Guthrie has not looked like the #2 starter he is being counted on to be, and even though the first 50 some games of the 2010 season look like a death sentence for a promising season (nothing like a 7 game West Coast road trip 2 weeks into the season, 19 of the first 28 games against the Yankees/Red Sox/Rays, and a total of 22 games against teams that made the postseason in 2008 and/or 2009 in the first 2 months), there is still hope. There is still the promise of better things to come. There is still the chance for an early 90′s type revival of this team (as opposed to the 1989 “playing WAY over our heads” kind of revival), but a sustainable one with an eye towards the right way to run a baseball operation. We can have home games in September that matter to us, and not just as playoff spoilers for that other team we’re playing. And honestly, what more can a fan ask for than for his or her team to be relevant down the stretch. It might not be the Giants and Braves in 1993, but it would be nice to not be an afterthought by the All Star break.
I wonder if Royals fans feel that way?
About the Author
Written by Ron Burr
Ron is a lifelong resident of Maryland and has been a passionate player and fan of sports for as long as he can remember. When he is not watching the games or explaining to his lovely wife why he is cursing at the television, he runs an improv/sketch comedy troupe, Drop Three. He can't hit a curveball or run a sub 4.5 40 yard dash, but he knows the games and loves talking about it with anyone. Differing opinions are welcome and encouraged!