OPENING DAY!…in the cold(?)

Ladies and gentleman, the day has FINALLY COME!  That day… is OPENING DAY!  I will give you a moment to collect yourself.

…..Good?

….Okay.  Good.

Now that you have that out of your system, let’s go over the checklist of everything you’ll need for the big day.

  1.  Tickets
  2. Money
  3. Jersey
  4. Hunger
  5. A smille
  6. ….a jacket?
  7. ………snow shoes???

Wait a minute… does something seem weird to  you?  Oh yea.. the winter apparel.  But why would you need that?  Baseball is the game of summer!

That, right there, is the question I have been trying to answer for years now.  As a huge Indians fan born and raised here in Cleveland, Ohio, those last two items have been an all-too-real need for me.  Which is the topic of this post.

For most of the fans, even though they live in colder areas, they at least have a dome, or roof, so it can be 72 and sunny year round.

Not Cleveland…or Boston… or New York…

But why?

I understand, domes and roofs are very expensive, and can be technically difficult.  However, I would prefer not to turn purple from frostbite during the 7th inning stretch.  It’s miserable.  Even the players hate it, that’s why some carry a “warm weather” clause in their contracts.

Lucky guys.

So if you live where it’s warm year round (I hate you) enjoy it.  Not all of us will be in T-Shirts on opening day.  Some of use will have to huddle together in our overpriced seats covered in snow.  Though I am used to it by now.

P.S.  Please build a roof, Cleveland.

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The Saga of Adam LaRoche

545635465In a short lived, but intense saga, and in one of the most unprecedented moves in MLB history – Adam LaRoche is officially retired from the game.

While this might seem not out of the ordinary for an aging player to step away from the game before his presumably final season anyway, the reason why became headline news, and will have ramifications for years.

If you knew Adam LaRoche, as his teammates do, you would know that his family has always – and will always come first.  While this has led to some extreme circumstances with him over the years, such as his son Drake being around the team constantly, he has always been open about it.  So much so, that a clause allowing his son around the team whenever he pleased was actually agreed upon when he signed his two year – $25 million deal with the White Sox.

Up until now there has, presumably, been no complaint about this over the years.  Even during his time with the Nationals, when his son was also around a majority of the time, there was seemingly no problem.  It was just accepted.

Then things changed.

Suddenly last Tuesday, LaRoche decided that he would retire, after he was asked to choose between baseball, and his son.  This to him, was an easy decision, and he immediately left the team.  However this wasn’t the end of it, and in fact, this is where things just got weirder.

Almost instantly after the decision was made, fingers began to point from all directions.  Management said players were complaining, players said management was to blame, and ownership said it was coaching.  It soon became so convoluted that even the players on the team “threatened” to boycott the rest of spring training.  Though this was never truly proved.

index3216541The White Sox’s star pitcher, soon revealed the gravity of the situation when he openly came forward accusing the front office of “bold face lies” to everyone on the team, and claiming they ruined the good vibes they had going this spring.

You can look into this forever, and ever, and will still be confused.  So to me, it is best to really look at the big picture here, how a kid was banned from being around the game he loves.

A coach was quoted saying “who has a job they can take their kid to every day?”

While his sentiment is true, essentially no one, this really isn’t a “job.”  It’s baseball.

There is no argument that a kid should be around constantly, as it can become a distraction and detrimental, it can also be bad for Drake himself.  This game is clearly a game he loves, he wouldn’t be around so much if it wasn’t.  Who knows, maybe he is the next Sosa… or LaRoche.  Why is it so bad to let him around?

The issue here is that this sets a precedent.  The precedent that kids are once again banned from the clubhouse, and possibly cut off from watching their dreams, and looking into the stars they hope to be.  Sure, this can be overstepped, which LaRoche might have done.  But to act so coldly might set back others, and be detrimental to kids who look up to these players.

All I know, is that if I knew someone who played in the MLB, I would be around them as much as I could be too.  Still would be.

Why the Cubs should let Steve Bartman back.

bartman2Whether you are a fan of the Cubs, or a fan of the Marlins, it is almost guaranteed that the date of October 14th, 2003 will stick in your mind, in either a positive way or not.  If that date doesn’t ring a bell, or if you are just trying to block it out of your mind, that is the date of the now infamous “Steve Bartman incident” during game 6 of the NLCS where the Chicago Cubs were taking on the (then) Florida Marlins.  The Cubs were up 3-0 with a 3-2 series advantage.  During the 8th inning, a foul (yes, it WAS foul) ball was blasted to left.  In a seemingly half-attempt of self-defense, Bartman robbed the Cubs left-fielder of a sure out, causing outrage, and the eventual collapse of the Cubs in that game, and the series.  The fans immediately lost it, so much so that he was almost killed, literally, trying to leave the game… where he stayed until the end.  Bartman had headphones on, listening to even the announcers tear him to pieces, as he sat with a stone-cold expression.  He was never officially banned, but he never returned to Wrigley, and eventually had to move out of the state.  The cubs never returned to the NLCS… until now, so why would the Cubs ever want him to come back?  Well, the answer is really quite simple.  Superstition.

Baseball is a game of rituals, and everyone knows that.  Some players have light rituals, such as wearing certain socks in big games, chewing a certain type of gum, or things of that nature.  However, some players, and even teams have rituals that go above and beyond.  Take Wade Boggs for example, a third baseman for the Red Sox.  Before every game he would take exactly 150 ground balls and do sprints at exactly 7:17pm for night games.  So if Bartman is such a bad omen for the team apparently, why on Earth would they want him to come to the game?  Well, to BREAK the curse, obviously.

bartJust like any curse, it can be broken, just ask the Red Sox.  Therefore, this one can be too.  The cubs have been to the NLCS several times, and Even the World Series, the last time was in 1945.  However, they haven’t actually won the World Series since 1908… the Three Stooges hadn’t even made a short by that year, and the president was Teddy Roosevelt. When the incident first happened back in 2003, he was almost killed trying to leave the game, and to this day, he still receives death threats from crazy fans, but believe it or not, the majority of the hardcore Cubs fans want him to come back, and sit in the same exact seat he had when he caught the foul ball.  Which, by the way, WAS a foul ball, and was right to him, anyone would’ve done the same exact thing.  If you don’t believe the fans feel this way, a gofundme was created and actually raised over $5,000 for Bartman to head to Pittsburgh and attend the wild card game, to which he politely declined due to safety concerns, and donated the money to charity.

bart 3Back to the future predicted that the Cubs would win the World Series in 2015, so wouldn’t it be something if the face of the Cubs drought actually attended a few games?  Apparently they might need it, as they are already falling behind in the NLCS.  While the Cubs organization has remained officially silent on the whole ordeal, it is pretty obvious that Cubs fans are desperate to break the curse, and Bartman might just be that key… who knows?

Will he actually show up to a game?  It’s unlikely, he hasn’t even publicly made a statement since 2003 and again last month when he declined the gofundme offer.  However, this doesn’t stop people from dressing up like him.  Baseball is weird, and curses sometimes actually come true, so will the Cubs finally break theirs?  We might just have to find without Bartman.

The beginnings.

baseball playersBlogs can be about anything, anything at all.  They can be movie reviews, movie bashing… or about technology, cars, the economy, or even private thoughts.  So, why out of everything would I decide to start a blog about baseball, and why would I decide to write it in first person?  Well, the answer is simple, but it does require just a little bit of explanation, so I will expand.

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Ignoring the fact that baseball has been something I have treasured my entire life, baseball is a sport that is unlike anything else, and any other sport out there.  Some consider it to be a gentleman’s sport, some say it’s “true team” sport, and some consider it to barely be a sport at all (though we won’t talk about those people).  While all of the above can be debated and discussed, there is one thing that everyone can agree on, and that’s that baseball brings people together in a unique way.  A way that no other sport can, and at any level.  Whether you’re playing city league softball, or in the majors, there is something to be said about the camaraderie that develops among the teams, and even the fans.  Maybe it’s because you’re not trying to run into other people at full force like other sports… or get into fights… no one really knows.  The only thing we know for certain is that whenever you step on the field, you become family, something we all need.

I wish I made it into the majors, but for every ball player, we all do.  I never did, obviously, but that’s okay, because I can still experience some of the best parts of the game.  I have played on several leagues throughout my life, from kids league, to high school ball, to city league softball.  While they all had their own things, the one common denominator stayed the same, the fun.  I have become lifelong friends with some people I have met on teams, something that I never accomplished in any other sport.

teamSo, in short, I started this blog simply for the fact that the sport itself can bring people together, and make a family member out of a complete stranger, and what better way to experience that than with a blog?  Will I talk about stats, futures, complaints, etc.?  Of course.  However, that will work hand in hand with the real meaning of the blog, the companionship, which leads me to the other question.

When I first thought about doing this, I knew I wanted it to be in first person, simply for the fact that I too wanted to be a part of the family I hope to create, not just some all-watching, numbers-driven mystery character.  This blog will share stories of experience, what it’s like to go to games, and so much more, and there is nothing I would like more than to join the ride.  Baseball just isn’t about the numbers, it’s about the stories, which usually never make headlines.

Blogs can be little, or so much more, hopefully I can relate to the latter.