Miss baseball?

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Apparently the groundhog does, too.

Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring yesterday, but here in Morgantown, WV it still feels like a winter in the frozen tundra. 
In an attempt to escape the winter doldrums I wrote this column for The Daily Athenaeum, the school newspaper for West Virginia University. Also known as the third best student newspaper in the country, thanks Society of Professional Journalists!
The article entitled, “The ‘Boys of Summer’ are on their way” strokes the ego of baseball fans making certain they remember that baseball remains the national pastime. It also defends the institution from those who seek to diminish the sport’s importance. 
Enjoy.

Former Chicago White Sox owner Bill Veeck once said, “There are two seasons, winter and baseball.”

Snowballs, skis and trays from the dining halls have all been some of the most popular items to play with throughout this and every winter season.

Isn’t it time for some new toys?

Although it is still January, I am ready to put a glove on my hand and toss around a white leather ball with red stitching.

I’m ready for baseball.

The feeling of the ball smacking into your Rawlings mitt, the ding of an aluminum bat colliding with the ball, and the dirt accumulating in your shoes as you round the bases create memories that last a lifetime.

Sadly, my time in organized baseball has been over for nearly five years. I find it hard-pressed to get pickup games going, as many of my friends have given up their childhood recollection of their first Little League games. Some even go as far as saying baseball is a dying sport.

I’m here to defend our national pastime.

The first thing I hear from anti-baseball narcissists is that it’s a boring game. “It takes so long in between pitches, and it’s never exciting,” they moan.

OK, so there’s no hard-hitting action like in hockey or football. But it’s far from dreary.

There are nine guys out in the field ready to move on any pitch. Each player has specific game plans for each hitter and has to adjust to every pitch. There can’t be any flaw in their concentration at any time.

Furthermore, the precise skill of hitting is far from simple.

Ted Williams, a 19-time All Star and two-time MVP, said hitting a baseball was the hardest thing to do in the sport.

Based on the national television ratings, baseball has indeed taken a backseat to the National Football League. In all honesty, that makes sense.

After all, it’s kind of hard to plan a life around 162 Major League Baseball games.

Th
ose against the sport have plenty of ammunition to put down the nearly 200-year-old sport, as no instant replay and the lack of a salary cap seems to have hindered interest in the sport.

But, unlike any other sport on earth, baseball is built on tradition. The dirt fields and humble beginnings have translated to the modern game with a blue collar ethic and desire for personal achievement. Baseball is embedded in the soil of the founding of America.

Can any sport hold a candle to that distinction?

While basketball and football may be easier to play with simple equipment, baseball has been here from the get-go.

Even today, the mentality of the sport is carried out by the die-hard players, coaches and fans.

Last Friday, West Virginia head baseball Greg Van Zant tweeted that his squad opened practice with “great effort” and a well-prepared attitude. Although, he has drawn harsh criticisms in his 15 years at WVU, Van Zant appreciates the central ethics of being a baseball player.

While we are all suffering through the harsh conditions of the winter doldrums there is something to look forward to that will rid ourselves of the freezing torment: Baseball.

8 Comments

Oh I miss baseball, and 20 inches of snow doesn’t help. But camps open up in two weeks and it’s almost here.

Nice piece for the paper.
http://wrigleyregular.mlblogs.com/

Another one of my favorite baseball quotes, which has become my mantra as the snow continues to fall:
“People ask me what I do in the winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.”
—Rogers Hornsby

Great piece. I’m excited for the Super Bowl, but of course, nothing can beat Opening Day.
Catherine
http://chisoxblog.mlblogs.com/

thats awesome you write columns for a college newspaper
especially for west virginia university
your column is really well written too
reminds me to be grateful i got 4 years of high school baseball left
-johnny

http://onegoodinning.mlblogs.com/

Put my money on your horse today! Don’t let me down, Big Ben. Don’t let me down!
–Jeff
http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/
http://mtrredstatebluestate.com

Like the article you wrote. Have you looked into any NABA leagues in your area? Check out this site to find a league in your area if possible. http://www.dugout.org/

Ron

http://strictlycubsbaseball.mlblogs.com/

Matt!
Congtratulations on making #13 in the ranking! Hope you do get to go to Spring training with your buddies! You all will so much fun! Punxsutawney is right, Spring is in the air!
Emma
http://crzblue.mlblogs.com

Well spring is in the air our here in L.A too…then winter, then spring again, then winter. We’re bouncing from 40 (sometimes closer to 30 for me at night – I live closer to national forest than Downtown) to 75/80 and back again, such is January in Southern California but no whining here. Frost on the car is hardly the same as snow and ice. Great article! You really sum it up well. And congratulations on your ranking! 13 is very impressive.
Kristen
http://blithescribe.mlblogs.com/

It’s ten below in Michigan’s U.P. I can’t believe I’ll be watching baseball in two months. I hope the little critter is right about an early spring.
–Mike
‘Minoring In Baseball’
http://burrilltalksbaseball.mlblogs.com

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