Saturday, March 5, 2011

Baseball and the arrival of spring

It’s Saturday, so I must be Blechta. Just a minute; let me check…(gets up, looks in mirror)…okay. Yeah, I was right.

Wow. We’ve finally gotten our baseball blog off the ground. I hope you’re enjoying it. I’ve noticed not many people have been joining in the conversation. In case you don’t know, you can comment on any of the blog postings by clicking on the word “comment” underneath the post. We seek and encourage your involvement in this blog. I speak for all three of us (well, maybe not for John) when I say that we just don’t want to pontificate about baseball. As stated elsewhere on the page, we want this to be like the between-the-pitches chatter in the stands that happens at any ballgame. So don’t be shy. Jump in with both feet if you feel the urge.

Enough editorializing...

My most definite harbinger of spring showed up last week and it felt wonderful. I turned on my radio and listened to a Jays spring training game. You could hear some of the chatter in the stands and on the field, the Press Box PA announcements in the background, the stadium announcements and of course the crack of the bat and slap of a fastball hitting the catcher’s mitt. With barely any imagination, I could also see that emerald-green field and feel the warm breeze. Ah, spring!

Baseball is one of those games that doesn’t have a clock, and I think that’s its greatest strength. It has moments of leisureness (that’s not a really a word, but what the hell) and it has moments where it moves at the speed of light. One moment, you’re looking around, relaxed, cracking open a few peanuts, chatting with the folks around you in the stands, and the next, you can’t possibly follow everything that’s going on out on the field.

(Sidebar: This is one place where TV could be great, except that all they show you is the same play from 10 different angles. Somewhere along the line, some brainiac decided that every camera’s job is to follow the ball in play. If you really love the game, sometimes you want to do something like watch what the left fielder does when the ball is hit to right field. Can’t do that on TV, can you?)

With spring training everything is even more relaxed, and because of the size of spring training stadiums, the experience is more intimate and casual. Players will more readily talk to the fans, sign autographs. You can not only watch them warm-up, but also warm-down. As a fan, you feel more part of the game in a way you never can in a major league stadium.

For those of us in climes where winter is really harsh, listening to a spring training game is the most definite and permanent sign that spring is on the horizon. It’s not like one of those slightly warmer days that end with the door slamming shut in your face as the temperature plummets again.

So get out your radio and tune in to hear what spring sounds like — a spring that doesn’t go away. You’ll feel a lot better.

Rick “The Professor” Blechta


John the Tomahawk Trembath said...

I love the smell of peanuts in the afternoon. Your right, Rick, spring training just feels right i.e. the end of snow. Baseball strategy keeps the game fresh and unexpected. Like I said in my blog, can't wait.

Rick Blechta said...

Can't wait for what, John? Peanuts?

Ellen said...

It must be nice to be able to listen to a Jays game on the radio. Here in Sarnia, the radio station that carried the games stopped last year. Now I can only listen to games when they play Detroit.

Rick Blechta said...

I would talk to the radio station, Ellen, and I do believe they would listen if enough people did that. As the Jays get better and their marketing strategy kicks in (Canada's team), more people will want to hear games again.

The popularity of baseball has certainly taken a tumble in our (hockey-mad) country due to the loss of the Expos and the fact that the Jays have had some pretty lean years. But with hope and a better team on the horizon, things will pick up. Everybody loves a winner, and with some luck and good planning, the Jays may once again become that.

Thanks for writing in!