Sometimes You Just Have To Be A Fan
When I started writing on a regular basis and beginning the arduous task of attempting to make a career of it, I was hired for a brief time to put together a staff for a large website that was trying to get a solid start. While putting together the staff for that site, I asked for the writing sample that I prefer to ask for from all my writers, “Why I Love Baseball”.
Building a staff that size, I was not prepared for the answer that started coming up more and more frequently.
“I don’t enjoy baseball anymore, I have been covering it for too long.”
It was the worst thing I could hear. I have grown up on the game, been raised with the game, and love this game above just about anything else. The thought that I would, at any point in my life, find myself not able to enjoy the game terrified me. I asked questions. I wanted to know why. I wanted to know what they would do different, if they could. No one could really answer.
I challenged writers across the country with a plan to overcome this. I challenged writers to put down their computers, pens, voice-recorders, and media guides. I asked them to forget everything they were doing and just go watch a game. Little league, high school, minor league, or major league, I did not care. Just buy a ticket and go watch a game. Clap along with the organ player. Talk with the fans around you. Catch a foul ball and give it to a kid. In the midst of it all, remember why you started writing about this game. Remember what made you fall in love with it.
Earlier this week, I stopped by the ticket office of the Springfield Cardinals and purchased tickets to take my 7 month old son to his first baseball game on Saturday. On Friday night, I received the press release that the Cardinals and the Frisco Roughriders had been rained out and they would play a traditional double header on Saturday, with the first game starting at 2 pm.
So, this past Saturday, that is exactly what I did. I took my son to his first game. We sat four rows from the field and watched two, seven inning games. The home team dropped the first game, though they found themselves with a dramatic come back in the final inning. The second game would see a huge home run from the home team’s first baseman and a good effort by both teams that ultimately resulted in a win for the home team.
In the midst of it, I met a photographer for a major trading card company. I yelled at the poor umpiring and inconsistent strike zone of the home plate umpire. My son had his picture taken with the mascot. I met people from around the area and talked baseball. I cheered and yelled. I joked with the players and even heckled a few of them. I kicked back and had some fun. Through it all, I realized something…
…I love this game.