By Steven Woods
Well Ladies and Gentlemen, today is the big day. Opening Day. No, not that opening day. Today marks the beginning of the Premiere Baseball League’s spring season, where my team, The San Diego Bruins will look to avenge losing the Fall Championship to the rival San Diego Marlins. This also marks my 20th season in organized baseball, but more on that later.
If this sounds ridiculous, it is and it isn’t. We take these games pretty seriously, and by pretty seriously, I mean very seriously. Why not? Play to win, right? Our team is comprised of a lot of different personalities, people from all walks of life, all different cities. Our shortstop is from Fort Wayne, IN and is a bartender. Our first baseman, me, is 20 pounds overweight and from Dallas, TX. We’ve got a pastor on our team, right wing guys, left wing guys, guys who aren’t really any wing. The one common denominator is our love for the game. One can hear several different conversations going in the dugout at once: Why Call of Duty Black Ops is better than Medal of Honor or how it’s actually harder to play in our league than in MLB. Hey…it’s not as crazy as it sounds. Sure they throw harder, but at least they’re around the plate all of the time. Sure they hit harder, but their fields are perfect. Actually typing it out, I realize that we are, in fact, insane. But the glue that holds us all there is our love for baseball. The game that risks us alienating our significant others nearly every single Sunday for a year. Baseball.
I’ve been playing organized baseball for 20 years. I’m 37. I got a late start and got kicked off of the team my Senior year for grades. I picked it up again in an organized league when I was about 24 or so. I remember that night like it was yesterday. I struck out three times and made two errors in right field. But I went home thinking, “I can’t wait to get back out there again”. The next game I hit a double and two singles and pitched 4 scoreless innings. I was, and have been ever since, hooked….again.
I’ve played on the Cobras, the Trojans, the Mets, the Brewers, the Bangin Burgers Bruins, the Astros, the A’s, the Tigers, and dozens more, and I remember something or someone from each team. I’ve played all nine positions on the diamond and in fact, did so in one game last year. I went in order, pitching the first, catching the second, and so on. It was a nerve wracking blast of an experience that I’ll never forget. This game is in my blood. It’s in my heart and it’s in my soul. I will play it until they tell me not to come back next year.
Baseball isn’t what it used to be though, unfortunately. Apparently as many people watched the NFL Pro Bowl as watched the World Series. Roughly 12 Million. This breaks my heart. In this age of instant gratification, baseball doesn’t deliver. Legendary manager Leo Durocher once said about baseball “Baseball is like church, many attend, but few really understand.” Truer words, Leo. Baseball is a symphony. Football is a mosh pit. Basketball is a video game.
If you need me, I’ll be at the symphony. Watching the great game. See ya at the yard…..meat.