Ok, perhaps it's not quite spring, YET. Especially here in Michigan where it was single digit temps overnight and only 14 this morning on the way to work.
However, watching Sportscenter this morning brought out that feeling that it's coming. It can snow all it wants in February, but come April, it's baseball season and that means summer is nearly here. Many folks no longer consider baseball a premier sport or their preferred sport, but honestly, I'd rather go to a ball game than any other sport. I love hockey and football, but give me a ballgame in the sun, sucking down some brews, chomping on a hotdog and I'm in heaven.
There's very little about baseball not to love.
I love walking up that ramp at Wrigley field and catching that first glimpse of the ivy on the outfield and grass so green you'd swear it was painted.
I love walking to Comerica Park from the PeopleMover and coming around the corner at the Michigan Opera House and seeing the park nestled in it's spot, seeing the wrought-iron bars that folks gather around to watch bits of the game from the sidewalk surrounding the game.
I love how it's an urban and rural game at the same time, where kids in NY play 'stick-ball' in the street and kids on a Kansas farm can play with just four of them on a field and bases full of "ghost runners".
I love how songs have been written about baseball and our love for it. How many basketball songs are out there that people know the words to?
I love how you don't have to be a physical freak of nature to be a special ball-player. I met Alan Trammell once and the guy wouldn't be recognized in a grocery store by a non-baseball fan. Cal Ripken Jr is 6'4", tall, but not huge.
I love how if a guy isn't gifted with natural speed, grace, or other talents, he can still make the majors by working his ass off.
I love how I can still remember the starting lineup of the 1984 Tigers during that magical game where Jack Morris threw his no-hitter. (Just try me...Morris, Lance Parrish, Lou Whitaker, Alan Trammell, Tom Brookens, Dave Bergman, Larry Herndon, Chet Lemon, Kirk Gibson)
I love how people argue as to which team was the greatest ever and how there will never be an answer (84 Tigers, no argument)
I love how kids 8 years old can love the same team as their grandfather, for completely different reasons, but still sit and watch a game with them, for two hours, uniting generations.
I love how I can play catch with my son in the backyard and not say a word to him, but know that he'll remember that time just like I remember when my dad played catch with me in the small patches of grass between the apartment buildings in Anaheim, California.
And most of all, I love baseball because it reminds me that after a long, cold winter, summer is coming.
Because the 'boys of summer' are back.