We are now nearing the end of March. It’s officially Spring, the weather is getting warmer (ok, not really), and finally, after months of waiting, the start of Baseball season is upon us. I don’t know about all you other fans out there, but I can honestly say that I am generally a happier person while Baseball is in session. There’s always a game to watch, always something to talk about, and a day at the stadium, complete with beer and hot dogs, is still one of America’s favorite things to do on a nice sunny day. In honor of this special time of year, The Campus Socialite has compiled a list of our favorite things about baseball season, A-Z. Enjoy Socialites! Go Yanks!
Albert Pujols – Ever since the lovable Latino entered the league, he has been a force to be reckoned with. He’s the best all-around player in baseball, he’s a sure bet to destroy some home-run records, and as of right now…he’s clean.
Babe Ruth – The word “legend” gets thrown around a lot in American Sports. Maybe I’m biased, but for me, nobody matches Babe Ruth. No longer a man, Babe Ruth lives on today as something more like a Mythological Deity. Babe Ruth is so legendary, that sometimes I find myself questioning whether anything close to the man we talk about today even existed. Then I read a stat like this: AB’s between 599th and 600th home run: Alex Rodriguez 46, Babe Ruth 1.
Catch – Of all the backyard baseball spin-offs, playing catch is the simplest, least likely to make you feel like a scrub, and it’s only appropriate during baseball season. It’s also a great reason to complain to our therapists about why our dads didn’t love us
Dugout Tantrums – Baseball is a game of slow and tedious tension. Emotions build with every run, every hit, even every pitch. Nothing gets your blood flowing faster, and every once in a while, someone loses it. Gloves and helmets get thrown, Gatorade kegs topple over. It’s not always good for the team, but the fans go wild, and it’s a rare show of passion in an otherwise understated sport.
Entrance Music – When “Enter Sandman” starts blaring over the speakers, Yankees fans know what’s going down. Besides pro-wrestling, Baseball is the only sport where every batter, and some pitchers, have their own music to come out to. In my opinion, it makes or breaks an at bat.
Fans – If you’ve ever been to New York with Phillies gear, or Fenway Park with Yankees gear, you know that Baseball has some of the most passionate fans in all of sports. Yeah, I said it.
Game Day Superstitions – Everyone has them, whether you’re willing to admit it or not. Whether it’s wearing your lucky shirt, or seating arrangements, nobody wants to be the reason their team lost, directly or indirectly. See Giambi’s Gold Thong.
Home Runs – This is an obvious one. Although their popularity may have indirectly ruined baseball, nobody can deny the excitement of a home run. Keep it clean is all we ask.
Interleague Play – Sure the players all hate it, and the leagues don’t even play by the same rules, but cross-town rivalries and World Series rematches are at the heart of Baseball. Sorry players, give the people what they want.
Junk – A good fastball is still the best pitch in baseball, but a pitcher is nothing without his junk. Curveballs, knuckleballs, splitters, and all those physics-defying pitches that make batters, and fans alike, simply shake their heads and sigh.
Ks – For excitement purposes, the only thing second to a homerun is a strikeout. Some pitchers celebrate, and some just stroll off the mound like a G. Either way, the crowd is screaming, and you know the blood is flowing.
Loaded Bases – The pitcher needs a strikeout (a pop up with two outs), and the batter is itching for that Grand Slam. I don’t care if your Football team is on the 1 yard line, down by 6, with 2 seconds on the clock. Nothing beats a bases loaded situation.
Mariano Rivera – Mariano is not only the best closer in baseball. At 41 years old, and the only player to still wear Jackie Robinson’s number, he is proof that in baseball, age is relative. Big stars come and go. Legends stick around.
Nostalgia – Speaking of the old, there is no sport that is so in love with its own past as Major League Baseball. Any true fan can name at least 20 hall of famers, and knows every year their team won the World Series. No matter how many years go by, there will always be something vintage about Baseball, and something historic.
Opening Day – I don’t know about other Baseball fans, but for me opening day is like a 24 hour chubby. I don’t care if I just got dumped, fired, evicted, and beaten the shit out of by a pack of angry escaped gorillas. On opening day, everything is going to be alright.
Pitching Wins Championships – An old adage that no team ever seems to prove wrong. Nobody can dispute how crucial good pitching is in Baseball. Besides maybe an NFL quarterback, there’s no position like it in sports. Maybe it’s just me, but i’ll take a shut-out over a slug fest any day.
Quotes – Baseball is just one of those things in life that attract a colorful cast of characters. From Yogi Berra to Ricky Henderson to Ozzie Guillen, the MLB is one of the most quotable organizations of all time. Just remember “It ain’t over til it’s over.”
Replay – It’s a very controversial issue (why? I don’t know), but as far as this space is concerned, baseball made great leaps when they decided to add replay review for home runs. Any step made to ensure the scorecards match reality, is a step in the right direction, and I hope they eventually apply to base-running as well. If any of you “human element” people want to argue, leave a comment. I will respond.
Sabremetrics – A comprehensive collection of stats based on player value, sabremetrics might be the best thing to happen to baseball since Joe Dimaggio. It provides fans and management with a whole new way to look at the sport, and those managers who refuse it (i.e. Jerry Manuel) ultimately get left in the dust.
Take Me Out to the Ballgame – Baseball may just be the only sport with its own song. As cheesy as it may be, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” is ingrained in the memories and hearts of baseball fans young and old. A day at the stadium is not complete without a singalong.
Umpires – Referee is so literal. The word umpire, on the other hand, has mystique and honor. In baseball, you know who’s umping your game. You know their tendencies, their biases, what their strike zone looks like. Just another reason why baseball is so unique. Even the referees are cause for strategic analysis.
Vladamir Gurrero – I actually kinda hate Vlad but I was short on words for V. He swings at every pitch, and it looks like his torso was transplanted on someone else’s legs, but somehow the guy kills it every year. He has a sick arm and steals bases too, which is hard to come by with power hitters. Truck on Vlad. We’ll keep striking you out, and hoping to god you don’t connect.
Wrigley Field – This hallowed ground is home to the Chicago Cubs, and the oldest professional baseball park in existence. Wrigley is to baseball fans what Amsterdam is to Stoners. Graceland. You just have to go.
Xavier Nady – I guess he’s alright. X is a hard letter. Sue me.
Yogisms – I know I mentioned quotes already, but Yogi Berra just has to have his own category. Here are a few of my favorites:
“Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical.”
“Half the lies they tell about me aren’t true.”
“I’m not going to buy my kids an encyclopedia. Let them walk to school like I did.”
Z….Hey Socialites! Can you think of a baseball word starting with Z. Let’s make it a contest. The winner gets my undying respect.