Baseball season and all the great things that come with it can’t get here sooner

Published 10:17 pm Friday, January 17, 2014

Someone offhandedly asked me one time what the big deal behind baseball season was. Why do people get so excited?
My answer: it’s equally about the feeling that comes from baseball season as it is actually watching or playing the sport.
Look at it like this: Opening Day for the MLB is March 31. Around that time, spring will have pulled Bainbridge out of its chilly winter slump and lied down a blanket of warmth. Flowers will be blooming, the sun will feel warm on our necks and everyone will be sipping lemonade and sweet tea out of mason jars on their front porch. People start getting out and exercising, socializing, fishing and enjoying beautiful days. It’s no secret that springtime makes the world happier, livelier. Everyone’s trading their jeans and flannel for shorts and tank tops.
Turn on the television. What’s on?
Baseball, that’s what.
Springtime and all of those happy feelings that come from it mean baseball. At least, that’s the connection I’ve had in my mind ever since I started playing the sport back when I was 5-years-old.
The weather is probably the biggest connection I make with baseball, but being at a game is a close second. Anyone who has ever seen their favorite baseball team play in person knows that it’s a different experience than being at any other game. Football games, most people are always on their feet. Basketball games are mentally exhausting to watch because your brain is rarely taking a break from the quick back-and-forth action.
Baseball games have a certain atmosphere to them, an aura I would almost call sacred. These stadiums and parks and fields have seen so much American history. Sitting in the stands is a relaxing experience. Pop a squat, lean back with a cold drink in your hand and watch your team. Feel the sun’s warmth, listen to the chatter of the crowd, smell the popcorn. Everything melds together so perfectly.
Something I’m looking forward to this spring is Bearcat baseball. I’ve never seen the team play before, but going through old issues of The Post-Searchlight and seeing headlines of no-hitters and shutouts is making me excited.
I’ve had the pleasure of meeting coach Brian McCorkle and can’t wait to watch him and the Bearcats play their last season in Region 1-AAAAA before dropping to Region 1-AAAA next season.
But as much as I love baseball season, there are a couple of subjects troubling me about it.
On 60 Minutes Sunday night, they interviewed Alex Rodriguez’s “nutrition specialist” Anthony Bosch, or as most fans have learned by now, his steroid buddy. Bosch spilled the beans on all the illegal substances Rodriguez injected into himself. For the majority of his career, he was cheating, and now he’s suspended for the entire 2014 season.
A second subject is the recent news that the MLB will finally incorporate an expanded replay system.
This means all the questionable calls that have been able to be reviewed in football, basketball, tennis and almost every other sport for years will finally appear in ballparks.
A lot of people are clapping their hands. This is a good thing, but with it comes a price that I’m not exactly thrilled about: time. Baseball games already last two-and-a-half to three hours. Throw in expanded replay and all the questionable calls that happen throughout a game and you’re looking at an extra half-hour tacked on.
That may be an embellishment, but the game is already slow enough. I suppose it’s better than making the strike box bigger to speed along the games.
The new replay and review features aren’t messing with the classic rules of the game and will help bring about fairer calls.