Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A 30 Year Old Rookie

Let me be clear. I am not a baseball player. Once upon a time? Perhaps. But that’s debatable. Let’s just say I gave it a shot.
A baseball fan? Yeah. It’s America’s pastime. And after this winter one might even call me die-hard.
The legendary infielder and Cooperstown inductee, Rogers Hornsby, said it best. “People ask me what I do in winter when there is no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.”
Make no mistake. Despite his .358 lifetime batting average, Hornsby was no saint. His personal life was tumultuous at best and while he abstained from smoking and drinking, he had a real knack for losing his hard earned cash at the horse track. On the field he was a gamer winning seven National League batting titles, two triple crowns and two National League MVP’s. And it’s a good thing since his personality was more along the lines of a Cobb than a Gehrig.
But if there is one thing that this winter has reminded me it’s that despite character and political differences, we are all unified in our desire to emerge from our prolonged seasonal hibernation.
Alright, I will come out and officially say it for most, if not all. I am beyond weary of winter. To be straight to the point, I am sick of blankets of pure white that turn into dirty composites of slush and slop. If I don’t see another damn snow flake for ten months I won’t issue the slightest complaint.
At the moment I feel like Mr. Hornsby, staring out the window and waiting for spring. A displaced St. Louis Cardinal fan in the heart of Indian and Pirate country, I yearn to hear the rattle of bats and to listen to the dialect of the baseball diamond. Whether it be to major league Tribe Town or minor league Akron I imagine driving the old highways, seeing rows of crops emerge nourished by the winter snow and rain. The smell of farms giving way to the musk of the ballpark.
It has been a long time since I last stood with a leather mitt between second and third. My hands no longer bear the calluses of countless swings in batting practice. But this March I have the anxiousness of a 30-year old rookie waiting for spring.

- Nick Stirrett

Photo acquired under creative commons license, originally uploaded by Anthony Easton.