Pitchers and catchers have finally reported and that ‘sizzle-and-pop’ is back in the air – along with the ‘crack-of-the-bat’ and the sound of 40+ grown men acting like children. Man, do I miss baseball. Here are the Top 5 Reasons Baseball is better at the Ballpark:
5) The Grounds Crew – The only time you see these guys on TV is right before a rain-delay. But the truth is, the crew does a ton of work on the field right up until game time. Bags upon bags (of what can only be assumed is “Sam’s Best Infield Dirt”) are hauled from the mound to the batter’s box, making sure they’re both in pristine condition. A guy on a Gator drags the entire infield while 2 others drop the chalk – then they all grab the hose and lightly mist the whole thing – When you walk into that ballpark and your eyes light up upon seeing the field, you’ll have the grounds crew to thank.
4) The Smells – Unless you’re in Pittsburgh (or trapped in one of those goofy domes), there’s just something amazing about the way the ballpark smells…the combination of freshly cut grass plus all the tools of the game; leather gloves and wooden bats. And the food is hard to beat. Nachos, hot dogs, cotton candy, peanuts, hell, even beer smells great at the ballpark – these pretzels are making me thirsty!
3) Defensive adjustments – Even the best TV announcers rarely discuss how the defense is positioned…maybe once an inning, MAYBE. But when you’re live, you can’t help but see it…and on almost every pitch. From the infielders creeping-in to the outfielders guarding-the-lines, you can watch the managers constantly making adjustments. You’d probably be surprised how many times a guy flies out to deep left-center only because the leftfielder had him shaded to the power alley before the pitch.
2) Batting Practice – If you’ve ever seen this at the Major League level you’re probably wondering the same thing I am – How are more guys NOT hurt during this?? Despite the name, BP is more than just hitting – you’ve got guys running the bases, fielders fielding, and an outfield full of guys playing long-toss, stretching or generally ignoring everything that’s going on. However, injuries hardly ever happen, and the choreography is beautiful – each guys just strolls into the cage, takes his pre-determined number of hacks (normally including a first pitch bunt), jogs out and in comes the next guy – at each rotation you get fewer cuts and therefore the long balls start flying more frequently – and don’t forget all the while you’re shortstop is deep in the whole practicing his backhand short-hop and deep throw to first – I know it’s only practice, but you get a season’s worth of highlights all at once – Point being, if you’re lucky enough to attend a game this season, go early enough to enjoy Batting Practice – you won’t regret it.
1) A Win – imagine it’s May 23 and you’re watching your team play the Padres on TV. Your team takes a 3-2 lead with a 2-run double in the bottom of the 7<sup>th</sup> (that you missed because you forgot to click back from the last commercial) and your closer ultimately comes in to seal the deal with a 1-2-3 ninth. Yay – go team – CLICK – you’re already watching “The Office” re-runs. Now, imagine you’re at the ballpark on that May 23 – just as that opportunity in the 7<sup>th</sup> presents itself you and the other 20k+ fans start a buzz…..then that double screams down the line and the place goes nuts!!! And in that 9<sup>th</sup> inning – every pitch has drama when you’re live – Already 2outs, when your closer gets that 1<sup>st</sup> strike, you revisit that buzz – Strike Two and everyone’s clapping, and I mean EVERYONE, even that lady 3 rows ahead of you who’s been reading Little Women since the first pitch – Strike Three and you’re high-fiving strangers, chest bumping with ushers and hugging in the aisles – the guy at home, watching on TV, probably just farted.
What do YOU like best about the Ballpark?