Thursday, February 29, 2024

Baseball, theres nothing else like it

The freshly cut green grass glistens. The smell of fresh lumber fills the air. The contact sound of bats hitting balls booms. The voice of a beer vendor echoes through the stadium.

The sights and sounds of opening day at the ballpark never fail to put a gigantic smile on my face. Boy I love baseball.

Just as March Madness is coming to an end, a chill jolts down my spine. I immediately know what it is - opening day is finally here and it’s time for the games to begin. Boy I love baseball.

After a long, frigid Michigan winter, I finally can put on my leather baseball glove and head out to the ballpark in hopes of catching my first baseball. I finally can travel to Comerica Park, listening to Ernie Harwell call another great baseball game on my portable radio. Boy I love baseball.

Opening day brings back lifelong baseball memories. I recollect my first Detroit Tigers game, a not-surprising loss to the Boston Red Sox in 1987. It was my first trip to Tiger Stadium, and had I not been 4 years old, I would have tried to catch the foul ball that bounced off my seat. I’ll never forget the feeling of that thud. Boy I love baseball.

Opening day reminds me what my dream always has been - to play baseball in the major leagues. I played baseball every year since I was 6 years old until last year, my senior year in high school, and I enjoyed each and every minute I was between the chalked lines. I was fortunate to play on the Plymouth Salem Rocks, one of the best high school programs in the state. I also was lucky enough to play for one of the greatest high school coaches in the game in Dale Rumberger. An unforgettable memory is in 2000 when I made a diving snag at third base to secure our school’s first district championship in six years. Boy I love baseball.

Just playing the game reminds me of current baseball greats like Roberto Alomar, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriquez, all who play outstanding infield defense. Then there is Ken Griffey Jr. and Bobby Higginson who use stellar defense in the outfield, which not only keeps their teams in the game but gives the fans an extra reason to cheer. Boy I love baseball.

I think of past baseball players who I grew up watching and salivating over. Who could forget Big Daddy Cecil Fielder, Mickey Tettleton and Rob Deer, who never failed to strike out at least once in a game? I remember the days of Jack Morris throwing a nasty fastball to Matt Nokes behind the plate. I also was lucky enough to witness arguably the best middle infield duo of all time - Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker. Just seeing those two turn a double play was worth the price of a ticket. Boy I love baseball.

Then, as with many other hard-core baseball fans, traveling to the ballpark or turning on the television just isn’t enough. There is this thing called fantasy baseball that invades all of our computers. When members on your roster have an extraordinary game, you can’t help but wear the biggest of smiles on your face. Boy I love baseball.

The beginning of the baseball season allows for quality time with friends. I went to at least 15 Tiger games last season, most with my best friend, who currently cheers on the Tigers from his dorm at Notre Dame. Along with two other best friends, I took a weekend road trip to Cleveland to watch the Tigers battle the Indians at Jacobs Field. There is no better place to spend time with your friends than at the ballpark. Boy I love baseball.

Baseball also is a great time to spend with your family. I always love traveling to the ballpark with my mom, dad and younger brother. Along with sharing pizza and pop, we all cheer on our hometown Tigers until the final out. Those games and that family time will be etched in my mind forever. Boy I love baseball.

Of course, in nearly all the instances I traveled to the ballpark, there always was something missing as I exited the stadium. Maybe it was the fact the Tigers have had trouble winning ball games ever since I started watching them play.

But as the die-hard Tiger fan I am, I am always confident in my Tigers. After opening day passes and the first weeks of the season are under way, I always seem to leave the stadium while repeating an all-too-familiar phrase: “There’s always next year

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