Only two more days

th-32Spring training for the 2015 major league baseball season begins in two days. Marti can’t wait. She asks me every day if baseball has started yet and I have to say, “Not yet, honey. Only two more days, though.”

I’m only joking — Marti would be happy if baseball never came — but it does say something about how badly I am hooked on the sport by the fact that I know there are only two more days until spring training. In fact, I’ve already got my tickets to a weekend of spring training games at the end of March in Tempe, Arizona, and I can’t begin to tell you the number of times I have imagined myself already driving east on Interstate 10. For those of you with little patience for this game and even less interest, I say, “Get used to it. You’re going to hear about this periodically for the next nine months.”

Alas, there is vindication for my obsession. In the opening paragraph of one of my new books Marti got me for Valentine’s Day is this: “Since there were few things in life that I loved more than baseball, as a young man I dedicated myself to the sport and hoped that my passion for the game would lead me straight to the major leagues”; Billy Graham, from his new book, Nearing Home. In the next sentence he paints himself into a home run trot that has him rounding third, and, of course, nearing home. At 93, I would say he is indeed nearing home, and I would also say there is a very big crowd of people around home plate waiting to jump all over him.

“I have remained a baseball fan, not necessarily of one team over another but of the game itself.” Oh come on, Billy. You’re lying. You have a favorite team; you’re just not telling. I bet it’s the Yankees, or possibly the Braves. They’re the closest to him. You can’t just follow baseball. You have to have a team. You look at the paper to find out what happened to the Phillies (or your favorite team) last night.

Billy goes on to report that his first outdoor crusade was in a minor league baseball stadium in Shreveport, Louisiana, and how, in a way, his dream of playing in a stadium before a crowd of people was fulfilled; only instead of a bat in his hand, he had a Bible. “A baseball may be driven into the farthest corner of the largest stadium, but the Word of God travels to the farthest corners of the earth, proclaiming the Good News of salvation. It still excites me just to think about the impact.”

To the farthest corners of the earth, or to next door. The ball doesn’t need to go far to reach someone. In the right situation, a bunt is as good as a home run. It just needs to be hit.th-32

Only two more days.

If you missed our excellent interview with music and film producer, Mark Joseph, last night, you can tune in any time by clicking on the banner below.

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4 Responses to Only two more days

  1. Wow, you could probably be a good friend to my husband who is not only a Cubs fan, but was a player himself. I have clippings from his day of playing in H.S. which gave him a free ride to any college he chose( he had 200 to choose from). He also played minor league baseball and the Orioles wanted to sign him on, but that field never came about because he shattered his knees. Much like Marti I can care less about the sport or how my husband’s favorite player Ernie Banks had gone home to the ‘field of dreams!’ So in 2 more days I will have to entertain myself, because I refuse to batter up! I’ll just hang at the dugout and not watch any baseball movies, but indulge in something else where I do not hear announcers asking onlookers to look at that play or their other cynical comments. Maybe I will buy me a box of chocolates and find a good book! lol

  2. Both your and Billy’s passion for baseball reminded me of someone else whose love for the game was immense: George Carlin.
    We (re)watched him this past weekend on a repeat broadcast of the first episode of “Saturday Night Live” and I always enjoy listening to his perspective on the difference between our National Pastime and that other sport that dominates this country: football.

    ~ ~ ~ “Baseball and Football” by George Carlin:
    Baseball is different from any other sport, very different. For instance, in most sports you score points or goals; in baseball you score runs. In most sports the ball, or object, is put in play by the offensive team; in baseball the defensive team puts the ball in play, and only the defense is allowed to touch the ball. In fact, in baseball if an offensive player touches the ball intentionally, he’s out; sometimes unintentionally, he’s out.

    Also: in football, basketball, soccer, volleyball, and all sports played with a ball, you score with the ball and in baseball the ball prevents you from scoring.

    In most sports the team is run by a coach; in baseball the team is run by a manager. And only in baseball does the manager or coach wear the same clothing the players do. If you’d ever seen John Madden in his Oakland Raiders uniform,you’d know the reason for this custom.

    Now, I’ve mentioned football…
    Baseball & football are the two most popular spectator sports in this country. And as such, it seems they ought to be able to tell us something about ourselves and our values.

    I enjoy comparing baseball and football:

    Baseball is a nineteenth-century pastoral game.
    Football is a twentieth-century technological struggle.

    Baseball is played on a diamond, in a park.The baseball park!
    Football is played on a gridiron, in a stadium, sometimes called Soldier Field or War Memorial Stadium.

    Baseball begins in the spring, the season of new life.
    Football begins in the fall, when everything’s dying.

    In football you wear a helmet.
    In baseball you wear a cap.

    Football is concerned with downs – what down is it?
    Baseball is concerned with ups – who’s up?

    In football you receive a penalty.
    In baseball you make an error.

    In football the specialist comes in to kick.
    In baseball the specialist comes in to relieve somebody.

    Football has hitting, clipping, spearing, piling on, personal fouls, late hitting and unnecessary roughness.
    Baseball has the sacrifice.

    Football is played in any kind of weather: rain, snow, sleet, hail, fog…
    In baseball, if it rains, we don’t go out to play.

    Baseball has the seventh inning stretch.
    Football has the two minute warning.

    Baseball has no time limit: we don’t know when it’s gonna end – might have extra innings.
    Football is rigidly timed, and it will end even if we’ve got to go to sudden death.

    In baseball, during the game, in the stands, there’s kind of a picnic feeling; emotions may run high or low, but there’s not too much unpleasantness.
    In football, during the game in the stands, you can be sure that at least twenty-seven times you’re capable of taking the life of a fellow human being.

    And finally, the objectives of the two games are completely different:

    In football the object is for the quarterback, also known as the field general, to be on target with his aerial assault, riddling the defense by hitting his receivers with deadly accuracy in spite of the blitz, even if he has to use [the] shotgun. With short bullet passes and long bombs, he marches his troops into enemy territory, balancing this aerial assault with a sustained ground attack that punches holes in the forward wall of the enemy’s defensive line.

    In baseball the object is to go home! And to be safe! – I hope I’ll be safe at home!

    http://www.baseball-almanac.com/humor7.shtml

  3. Bob~ they may have been George Carlin’s view back then, but then he became an atheist! Hope he got home safely when he passed!

    • bobenearSeattle says:

      Well, it’s not up to me to judge George.
      I just appreciate his amusing perspective on Baseball and Football…

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