More Than Baseball

I’m constantly abusing sports fanatics. I mean, I don’t beat the shit out of them physically, but in my head, I sort of do. I say to myself, “It’s just a game. What is it compared to scientific advances or new inventions? Or people starving, or war, massacres, and global catastrophes? Why get your panties in a wad over a fucking game when there’s so much more to life?!” It seems football especially is more about advertising, product placement, and money, than the game itself. In fact, games are planned around commercials and with so few games in a season, companies have to make as much as they can every game. Anyway, I certainly wouldn’t miss something as important as time with my family for a sports game. No way…or would I?

The Giants are going to the World Series and I, along with thousands of other fans, are beside themselves. Today is game one and it should be a holiday. But long before this point, I was a 5-year-old boy starting his first team sport: baseball. I learned communication, strategy, frustration, discipline, success, physics, and brotherhood in baseball. I always say the hardest thing in all of sports is hitting a baseball and it’s true. If you haven’t tried it, do it. Catching a football or kicking a soccer ball doesn’t even come close to the difficulty of hitting a moving sphere with a stick. I don’t want to debate the difficulty of sports though, that’s not the point. The point is there is magic in baseball. It’s not about being the strongest or fastest. Sure, there are guys that throw in the mid-90s and have a nasty change-up and when they have their stuff, they are virtually un-hittable. And there are guys that can pick up the ball and know what it’s going to do the split-second it leaves the pitcher’s hand, ensuring clutch hits, home runs, and game winning plate appearances. But it’s a long season. A very long season. 162 regular season games and potentially 19 more to win it all. It starts in February and this year, will go until November. In a game that already hangs on millimeters, slight changes in wind, emotions, and a million other variables, having to grind through so many games, day in and day out, ensures magic. Every great player will have their bad days, or weeks, or even months. No matter how hard you throw or how fast you run, you will falter. It’s just not possible to be perfect for such a long season. Every player is tested. Every team is tested. And in the end, it’s the group of guys that hang together, support each other, and persevere that make it.

I think it’s something we can all relate to. We all grind, day in and day out. Many of us don’t get breaks and sometimes we’re phenomenal and sometimes we’re pathetic. We succeed and fail and succeed again, multiple times a day. We don’t do it alone. We can’t. The people we’ve chosen around us pick us up and sometimes we pick them up. None of us shine all the time but all of us will have our moments. And that’s baseball. That’s this 2010 Giants team. And I think that’s what makes this World Series so special.