Play Ball! 

I love spring, because spring means baseball. I love the sound of the crack of the bat, the elegance of the double-play, and the beauty of a successful squeeze from third.

What makes baseball special is it offers us moments, exquisite moments, like when Babe Ruth pointed to the stands, and then hit a homer over the center field wall. Encapsulated in every game is a such a moment. Maybe not as dramatic as this, but they are there. You never know when they will happen, but they do—the perfect play, that fantastic catch above the right- field wall, a homer at the most appropriate time. All of these things represent the challenge and beauty we call baseball.

Baseball also provides a fertile ground for writers. From the beginning of the game, writers patiently watched, waiting for these significant events to occur so they could report them to sports fans around the world. And occur, they did. This week, the movie 42 opens—the story of Jackie Robinson. How exciting it must have been to be a writer covering the debut of the first Afro-American in the sport.

Like all writers, I also have a baseball story. Mine takes place during the 1966 World Series. The Los Angeles Dodgers were my team, and they were led by all time great Sandy Koufax. In addition to Koufax, the Dodgers also had Don Drysdale, a powerful right-hander. It was only natural that I would be in enthralled by the Dodgers. I was a Bobcat, (a member of a Little League team) and all my friends were involved in the sport.

So heres our story. My father wanted to surprise me with a moment we would always remember. He purchased tickets to the World Series to watch Sandy Koufax pitch. The only problem was the tickets were for game five. He knew he was taking a chance, because it was commonly believed that the LA Dodgers would sweep the Baltimore Orioles. Here's what actually happened.

And so there I was, a young lad with tears in my eyes, as my tickets to the fifth game of the World Series became utterly and completely useless. There truly was no joy in Mudville, the mighty Dodgers, had struck out.

Even still, I love baseball to this day. Fans support their team. I hope that you, and others, will join me for a Dodger Dog and Cracker Jack in the upcoming year. In the meantime, play ball!

At least, that's the way I see the game:

Through a Writer's Eyes




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