First of all, welcome to my crazy world. If you’re reading this, you probably know me and care about me to once again listen to me ramble about baseball, or you stumbled upon this and wondered what I could possibly have to say about baseball. Two things: 1) "It’s baseball. It’s life. It’s everything" – the only intelligent quote to ever come out of "7th Heaven." 2) The Cardinals rule. Period. Even when they ****.
So for my first post, I’m not going to focus on how horribly the defending World Champions are playing now. I won’t ***** about the offense or Tony’s insistence on So Tags and Preston making an appearance every game or how well JD Drew is doing in Boston. Here a little (ok, long) look at just what baseball means to me.
Baseball and I go back to the time, at three years old, my Grandma taught me the words to "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" while sitting inside the car sitting in a bank parking lot. One set of cousins and I would "play baseball" in my Mamaw’s front yard, using an orange plastic mat,the stairs to the porch, a brick, and a burned out stump as the respective bases.
My first up-close experience with Major League Baseball came in 1998 in St Louis. (Good year and location, eh?) On that hot, humid day along the Banks of the Mississippi, Mark McGwire connected off Astro’s pitching for historic homeruns 39 and 40. Since then, there have been numerous return trips to St Louie and countless games on TV, the radio, and via the internet. The Cardinals have caused/provided laughter, tears, hissy fits, and moments of pure jubilation for me. The Cardinals have been the once constant in my life through parents losing jobs, friends moving away, grandparents dying, breakups, college, and pretty much every other possible up and down life can throw at you. No matter what’s going on, for 9 innings, I can be free. There have been Christian Family Days and Firefighter Appreciation Days and days where I just took of with friends to sit in the cheap seats and get sunburned. I have nearly been killed while crossing the MLK Bridge by a (male) friend who was driving and shrieking Clay Aiken songs at the top of his lungs. I’ve witnessed by father’s conviction that he’d been shot driving along I-70 when my brother had really thrown and autographed baseball to the front of the van, shattering about Mt Dew bottle, all because he’d left his puppy loose in the house back at home.
I’ve cried as Jack Buck welcomed baseball back to the world days after 9/11. I cried again, less than a year later when my hero finally succumbed to years of illness, and days later, Cardinal Nation was forced to say good-bye to Darryl Kile. But there have also been tears of joy. Last October a was a wild, joyous, magical ride that I will never, ever, ever forget. The only thing I would have changed about it is that I would have been home, with my friends, and my Dad, to witness it. My father was here in Florida for the end of the Padres series, and I’ll cherish that moment for ever. When Wainwright K’d Beltran (looking!) to advance to the World Series, there was falling on the floor and there were tears. The end of the World Series… amazing. I had to be at work at 4:45 the next morning and I did not care I only got 3 hours of sleep and my phone rang for two hours after the final out.
That, in a nutshell, is what baseball means to me. I could tell you more, but I know you don’t want to read a novel. So, to quote the legend… "Thanks for the time, this time, until next time… so long for just awhile."
"It’s baseball. It’s life. It’s everything."