There are two seasons in sport: Baseball and the Void.
Today is opening day, today marks the 130th season in the Reds history; it also is the 136th season in National League history. Baseball is the oldest organized game of our culture, stretching back 24 Presidents from today. Since the inception of the National League the pro game has been affixed to the psyche of many woman, children, men and communities. We follow it, we love it, we loath it, it is a part of us.
In short it’s large part of the fabric that covers every year of American life. It is the type of thing that generates seasonal terms such as: The Summer Game and The Autumn Classic, while other months in the season are attached to certain times or players, giving us the “June Swoon” or a “Mr. October.”
What other sport can produce a player called a loogy?
A situation called a full count?
Or a hit and run?
A game like baseball holds on to terms for decades that no longer even apply to the game we know today, terms like the pitchers box, which refer to the pre-mound days when the pitchers area was a rectangle that allowed freer movement. I implore you to think: where else do we hear of the use of rosin or pine tar? Who else has/had Twi-Night Doubleheaders, Businessman Specials, boxscores, scorecards and little tiny pencils without erasers?
In fact when was the last time you needed a pencil at a basketball game or at a football game?
In baseball, there is no clock. It could, in theory, last forever, plus it doesn’t involve or need the fury created by the back and forth sports. This game can be examined, it can be rolled over in your head and pondered as it occurs in front of your eyes. Often it can be as controlled as a chess match one moment and the next moment be as rowdy as a Saturday night in a border town.
It’s familiar, it’s the guest that refuses to leave. T:he game is played everyday for 6 months and can be seen on almost 49% of the days of the year (in contrast NFL is on around 6-7% of the days of the year) the game is all encompassing to its fans, and there’s something different there every day of the year.
Nothing really resembles a baseball game, not cricket, not Pesapallo. It’s unique, it’s special… it’s life, death… it’s magic.
But the best thing about baseball?
It’s not the void.