Monday, October 27, 2014

Talking Baseball

Over the last several baseball seasons, I've shared a running discussion about the game with my Dad and with a mutual friend from New Hampshire, Steve Schofield.  We share observations about teams, games and players; recommendations on good baseball books and movies; and stories from our baseball pasts.  Steve, who grew up rooting for the Brooklyn Dodgers and playing stickball in New York, is now a Red Sox fan.  My Dad, a Southern California native, grew up rooting for the LA version of the Dodgers (an allegiance he passed on to me).  Today, both of us are Giants fans.  For all three of us over the last 5 years, the major league postseason has been pretty exciting - the Giants and Red Sox have been regular playoff teams.

Today, my Dad sent Steve and me the following email:
"I am watching the baseball channel. The Royals are having a voluntary workout. Some of the guys shagging flies in the outfield have their little kids with them,, complete with their own little gloves. Little kids with dad on the big league field the day before game 6. Only in baseball."
I grew up playing baseball.  I started in Pee Wee ball when I was 5 or 6 - and played organized baseball or softball every year until my mid-twenties.  While I didn't get to play stickball in the street like Steve or my Dad, I played lots of playground ball when I was in elementary school.  And while both of my daughters are soccer athletes, they've both grown to appreciate baseball.  My oldest daughter loves to watch Hunter Pence (the Giants' right fielder) play because of his hustle and his obvious love for the game.  My youngest has recently discovered the joys of playing catch - which her Dad (me!) loves!

Here's my reply to my Dad's email:
"One of the things I've liked about this year's Giants team is that I've heard several players talk about how lucky they are to be getting paid to play a kid's game that they love to play. I saw a photo from the clubhouse celebration after the NLCS victory of Javier Lopez sitting on the floor talking to his kids. How cool is that!
"Maybe it's because baseball doesn't have a clock, but it seems like the game lends itself to a different pace and set of priorities. Posey said that when he heard about Taveras' death during the game last night, it made the game seem pretty unimportant. I find it refreshing to hear a professional athlete with some perspective - and I think ballplayers have more of this kind of perspective than other pros!  I can't imagine Colin Kapernick saying something like that!
"It's probably a sign that I'm getting older, but I worry about the talk of changing baseball to appeal to a younger audience. Perhaps baseball needs to wait for this younger audience to develop some maturity and perspective!
"The only thing I'm really sad about is that there are, at most, two more games until the end of the season...."

As Giants' broadcaster Mike Krukow often says, "Enjoy this great game!"

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