There is always the urge to make a big deal about the first post, you know what I mean? You sit down at the computer or whatever device you use to do this thing, and the urge is to make some bold pronouncement that here you are and the world should give a toss to the fact that you have something to say. So in all probability nobody will read this. I don’t mind that really. I don’t care that someones may never actually read this. I am not writing this for anything other the simple pleasure of talking about one of the few things in this world outside of faith and family that gives me a sense of pleasure and joy.
What is there not to love about baseball? My wife has a load of comments about that which will give you the impression that there is a lot. And perhaps there are many others out there who feel the same way too. The events of the 1990s still leave many with a sense of being let down by the sport that they love. I can get that too.
But you know what? None of that matters. The simple joy of the crack of a wooden bat, smacking into a wooden leather-coated ball, the small of fresh cut grass, and the excellence of what a human being can do (when it is genuinely done) is something that draws me to the three greatest bat and ball sports in the world. Yes folks baseball, cricket, and hurling.
I am excited for the start of the season. Now that The Captain has retired the business at hand can be about winning again.Last season had the feeling of being a museum rather than a serious challenge for the World Series. Though at the time it was magic, I still find it hard to watch the Yankees’ 2014 season without that same pang I get when I see photos of loved ones who are dead now. There is a sort of delight in seeing the Captain again, as he takes the field and doffs his cap, and making another landmark and going higher on the all-time lists. But the whole thing felt like we were waiting for word from the hospital that a loved one was dead. Because in a way someone beloved to all Yankees fans did die. No not Jeter… he is alive an well and I once again want to wish him well and thank him for the many wonderful moments of joy that he gave us.
What died for many Yankees fans was their childhood/ youth. I was still a teenager when Jeter became a starter. Living in Ireland I had always loved baseball but it wasn’t until that point that I was able to follow it more closely than I had. So when Jeter retired it was like a part of our lives had come to an end. And as we grow older we quickly realise that life is one giant list of letting go. But we don’t like it. We don’t want to let go of anything. So when Jeter retired we lost not only a great Yankee captain of the quality of Gherig and Munson, but we also lost that little bit of our childhood too. Depressing huh?
But onwards and upwards. Sport is a constant striving after the wind, like Sysiphus the athletes must forever push the rock up the hill. One year’s champions are often the next year’s losers- just look at Boston who went from World Series winners in 2013 to scraping the barrel in 2014. All the celebrations must come to an end and the previous season matters only in the memory.
That is a good thing for A-Rod. Who had a dire season watching from the sidelines. For many Yankees here is the Anti-Jeter. He returns whereas Jeter doesn’t. Jeter loved the game to the degree that he never did anything to bring it to disrepute. A-Rod loves playing the game, but loves it for the winning and not the playing. His links to the Biogenesis scandal, and various on field and off field antics show that he is more caught up with the desire to win and gain records than he is with the pleasures of the sport, the good of the team, and the respect of the fans.
With the reports of his apologies to the MLB and Yankees being released we can only hope that all of the shenanigans are finally consigned to the memory. We can only hope that he is in good enough shape to help the team reach another crucial milestone and lift World Series number 28. That will be the only way that he will help put to bed in the minds of the fans that while we have lost Jeter and still have him. If not then we are stuck with an expensive dud, and expensive over bloated ego. It’s time señor to bring your A-Game.
There, that’s my first blog about baseball, I hope you enjoyed reading it.