Hope Springs Eternal
Many of you who know me know I am a Yankee fan. I live near their spring training facility and try and make at least a dozen games every spring. This year I only made 3 due to traveling so I missed out on a lot.
I have only become a baseball fan in the last few years but I have learned to really appreciate the game. I used to think it was the most boring game ever and couldn’t imagine sitting through it with the sun beating down on me and crowds of people drinking and spilling, warm beer in the Florida sun. It sounded like torture rather than something fun to do with an afternoon or evening. Now I can really enjoy a game. It doesn’t hurt that we have a dome here in Tampa where the Rays play, who by the way are a really good team and crazily enough have been predicted to go all the way to the series again this year! Over the sox and the Yankees??????? I can’t see it but at least it will make the games worth attending after last year’s huge let down.
Baseball is called the thinking man’s game. It’s the only game where the defense has the ball and it’s the only major sport without a time clock. It’s slow at times but can be every bit as exciting as a fast break or long pass for a touchdown now that I am starting to understand the game more. I have learned to respect the cat and mouse game between the pitcher and base runners. The strategies of the game are really amazing as well. Righty vs. lefty statistics and how they play out in comparison to lefty on lefty. I always wondered why they would bring in a left handed pitcher to face a lefty hitter…then it was explained to me about baseball being a game based almost entirely on stats and numbers. I would have never thought it that way. I thought a guy pitched it to a guy who tried to hit it to guys who tried to catch it. I never knew or cared to know the intricacies of the game.
I have gotten to know a couple of the Yankees and a few Phillies and a few Rays players over the last few years. I have a friend who used to work at the original Hooters in Clearwater and I would go there a lot to see her and have dinner. It’s right down the street from the Phillies spring facility and I have spent time talking to several players over the years. But one night I was sitting outside and looked up and here comes Derek Jeter with 2 other guys who turned out to be Bernie Williams and Jorge Posada. I had a ball in the car as I had been to the Blue jays and Reds game that day so I went to get it and have Jeter sign it since he is my son’s favorite player. I walked up to the table and asked Derek to sign it for me which he did, and I went back to my table. When my check came for my food it said “paid by Bernie and Jorge.” I said to my friend “who the hell are Bernie and Jorge?” and I hear a voice behind me say “those are the 2 guys who were sitting with me that you didn’t ask for autographs.” Jeter handed me a menu with all 3 of their signatures on it made out personally to my son which was so nice, other than now he is older he thinks it’s strange that it’s on a Hooters menu. To this day when I see Derek we laugh about it. He hooks me up with great tickets and gets me stuff signed for my son any time and has been one of the most respectful and sweetest people I have ever met. He gets a bad rap as a playboy but he is just a really nice guy who is comfortable in his own skin and happy.
Now that the regular season has started I can’t help but be excited about games to watch and the 162 games that come down to the final few for a few teams, and so many others go back home for the winter with the “Next Year” state of mind. Hey, they do get millions of dollars win or lose but still I think no matter how much they make they want to win.
I know it’s weird for a girl to be so into baseball, especially a porn chick, but it’s got a great pace and allows you to relax and enjoy a conversation with a friend and a hot dog with a beer in the sun, or the air conditioning in my case ? and the guys are real guys, many whom I’ve met are down to earth and still go back to the Midwest or wherever they are from when the season is over, no matter how many millions of dollars they make. To me that is much more endearing than a guy getting famous and moving to LA or somewhere celebrity-ish and forgetting that he grew up in Baton Rouge or Topeka or Toledo.
Baseball has faded into a secondary spot as America’s game with football becoming so popular and with night games and black outs for local games a lot of people don’t even get a chance to watch it on television anymore which is sad to me. But thank God for the new MLB channel! ? I don’t watch many games but I highlights are always fun to catch before bed.
This coming weekend the Rays play the Yankees in St Pete and I’ll be there Saturday and Sunday, right behind the Yankees dugout in AJ Burnett’s seats who is also one of the nicest guys out there. So if you see me at a game make sure you say hello and I hope your team does well this season! ?
here are some pics from the game the other day too ?