Friday, February 28, 2014

Dreams of Baseball to Beat the Winter Cold

This has been a pretty wretched winter, made worse by yet another cold snap today.  It is the kind of cold where I can feel the air freezer-burning my lungs as I breathe it in, the molecules moving so slow as to be inert.  There are faint glimpses, however, of something better.

I got a glimpse today after work, drinking an end of the week pint at a local Irish pub with some co-workers.  The bright sun, which gave such cold comfort in the frigid air outside, actually warmed my face as it shot through the windows.  On the television I saw the Mets playing their first spring training game in the bright, warm air of Florida.  When I closed my eyes I could hear the sound of the ballpark in my ears and feel the warmth of the sun on my face.  I immediately dreamed of having a seat down the third base line on an immaculate June day.

The older I get, the more I anticipate the coming of baseball season.  It's little to do with my appreciation of the game itself or the prospects of my teams, and mostly about what the game symbolizes.  It means rebirth and warm weather, and a constant friend who is part of my life for six months.  One of the things I love most about baseball is its dailiness; during the season there are games every day.  Sometimes I intensely watch them, other times I don't, but I am constantly comforted by the knowledge that baseball will be there for me if I want it. It is a soothing certainty in a world where little seems dependable anymore.

As I pour such anticipation into the upcoming season, I'll share some links and things that have helped tide me over this off season.

Lucas Mann, Class A
Just finished reading this book, which is about the a season with the minor league Lumber Kings of Clifton, Iowa.  It is the smallest city with a class A team, and one that has been ravaged by deindustrialization.  Mann does a great job of describing both minor league baseball and what its like to live in a small town whose best days are behind it.

Lee Elia's Rant
Early in the 1983 season things weren't going to well for the Chicago Cubs.  Manager Lee Elia responded to the situation and criticism in the media and blowing his gasket with what must be the greatest rant by a coach ever.  It is a masterpiece of profanity and anger.

Doc Ellis' No Hitter
Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Doc Ellis pitched a no hitter in 1970 while he was on acid.  This video made with his narration is well worth watching.

Vin Scully on the Mic
Because there are 162 games in a season, the quality of baseball broadcasters means more than in other sports.  The best announcers are like a good friend or beloved relative, and nobody is better at calling baseball games than Vin Scully.  I can pretty much listen to him all day.

The White Sox Winning the Series in '05
The MLB seems to have finally come to its senses and allowed its content to be put online.  Much to my happy surprise, I found that they put the complete game 4 of the 2005 World Series on YouTube, meaning that I can watch my White Sox in their greatest moment, and forget about the frustration that this season will surely bring.

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