What are the last two words of the national anthem?

A baseball. Svenska: En baseboll Foto: Tage Olsin

A baseball. Svenska: En baseboll Foto: Tage Olsin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There’s nothing like the day after Christmas to make you start thinking about baseball. Spring training is going to begin soon and the game is still as popular as ever. It is a family friendly outing whether you’re going to a minor or major league game, too. This last sentence of this first paragraph is also here to tell you that this story’s headline is simply a joke and the punch line is yet to come–and in italics, too!

I think for me, personally, thinking about baseball helps cushion the blow of the fading football season. Yeah, I know the playoffs begin and soon the Super Bowl will be upon us. But, if your team is out of it, you need something to help you cope with the pending sports viewing void that only golf will attempt to fill. I realize there’s the NBA, NHL and of course the College Basketball Sweet 16, but indoor sports can only capture our imagination for so long before we subconsciously yearn to hear the crack of the bat and the ball skiffing through the grass on a glorious, late spring day.

Baseball at the park is way different than it was 50 years ago. Or even 30. There are so many things that vie for our attention when we are at games now. Whether it’s the individual music played for each batter as they stride to the plate for their turn at bat, or fireworks beyond the outfield walls after a home run, it’s hard to remember that people actually kept score at baseball games when they weren’t so distracted by the multitude of goings on that speak to our collective attention deficit disorder.

Kids unwrap their presents at Christmas at supersonic speed. They are playing their indoor games and enjoying all of the new gadgets that will help them while away the remaining cold winter months until the snow melts. Once it does, they find themselves being banished by their mothers to the outdoors to play ball (or feel mom’s wrath).

English: A frisbee made by Wham-O.

English: A frisbee made by Wham-O. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What can you do outdoors if you can’t bring your Xbox on the patio? You can have a game of catch. If you don’t have two mitts and a ball you can get a Frisbee on the cheap and simulate the motions of throwing and catching a baseball (until you can find where you put your old gloves and ball).

When we finally make it to the park for a game again, we think about pulling out our smartphones and texting someone about something going on at the game. But, if we just try and disconnect for a few hours, relax and just experience the sights and sounds, we really hear it all (and then some) at a ballgame.

“Hey, someone just bunted!”

“Can you believe it? A-Rod hit into yet another double play!”

“Whoa! Dee Gordon just stole second base again!”

“That was a long out!”

“Why do they have ball girls at games?”

“We’re doing the wave again!”

“Honey, the kiss cam is coming on. Get ready to pucker up!”

“Could you get me another beer, too, please, Al?”

“The beer guy is getting hoarse!”

“Get up! It’s the seventh inning stretch!”

Christmas is over and football’s season is winding down. But baseball is coming and that is reason to rejoice and revel in all the goodness that can only be found during a game at the ballpark.

Play ball!



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