My passion is baseball. I know it seems silly — it’s just a sport, right? But baseball is a lot more than just a game to me. It’s easy to get lost in stats and numbers if you don’t understand them, so I’ve done my best to learn what every stat, what every number has to offer. Baseball is my passion because it’s exciting and yet casual. There is time to discuss the game between every play and every pitch. Baseball is a very academic game. It’s not inherently violent, like hockey or football. Baseball rolls along at a leisurely pace, and for nine months out of the year I can find a baseball game on TV or the radio. Baseball is like a friend that I can always count on. If a game is cancelled, it is made up. If it’s delayed, it always comes. It’s here every single day, and I suppose I admire that. And the players are dedicated professionals. Okay, I’ll admit, brawls do happen occasionally, but it’s an emotional game. The idea that one person can change the course of a game, of a season, of a year is thrilling and yet so terrifying. And it’s funny to think that even though I live and die with every pitch, the win to loss ratio of every team is always spectacularly close at the end of the season. Baseball is a thinking game. I think that’s why I love it. It doesn’t exist for the easily amused. Baseball is about absorbing numbers, about beating odds. Baseball is my game.
Yesterday started off horribly.
I got up bright and early, thrilled that it was finally Opening Day. I didn’t have tickets but I got dressed in my Reds gear all the same because my brother and I were supposed to head down to the parade. Opening Day is practically a Holy Day in Cincinnati, and I was thrilled to (finally) be a part of it.
My brother didn’t wake up.
I was exceptionally frustrated. I wanted to attend the festivities so badly, but my brother had decided that sleeping was more important than baseball. I plopped on the couch, disappointed, and decided to watch hours of mind-numbing Bar Rescue until my dentist appointment at 3.
My dad came out to the living room around noon, holding my iPod.
“Bad news,” he muttered, and I grimaced. Well?
“It went through the washing machine.”
Oh, you’ve got to be KIDDING me. How could this day get ANY worse?
After trying to drown my sorrows in Easter candy, my cell phone rang. It was my mom, who tried to console me over the loss of a great day and of my poor MP3 player. She said that we’d go out shopping to get a new iPod, and I insisted that we go after the game was over. After all, I needed this game. Not even two minutes after hanging up with my mom, my phone rang again. At this point, I was so tired of social interaction that I wanted to call it a day and go back to bed. But the call was from my friend Sami, so I answered anyway.
“Hey Molly, ya know how I said I had tickets to Opening Day?”
Well, I know now. What about them?
“My mom is sick and I was wondering if you wanted to go.”
I froze. A ticket…to Opening Day? I must have been quiet for quite some time because Sami tried to bring me back to the present through the phone line.
YES. YES OF COURSE. I told her I needed to make some calls but that I would absolutely love to attend the game with her. I dialed my mom and tried to hold back from shrieking. My dentist appointment was subsequently canceled; I donned my (signed) Mesoraco jersey and ran out to greet Sami when she finally arrived.
It was my first Opening Day game. Ever. I almost always had school during the beginning of the season, but luckily this Monday happened to be the last day of my high school’s Spring Break. I was shivering with excitement the entire way to the ballpark. Baseball was in the air, and I could taste it.
The opening ceremonies of the game were absolutely thrilling to me. I was bouncing up and down almost uncontrollably. Our seats were view levels in foul territory on the left field line, but did I care? Not one bit. It came time to announce the teams, and a knot formed in my stomach. The Reds were playing the Angels, an American League team that isn’t terribly familiar with our National League crowd. My favorite Angel is (almost naturally) Mike Trout. Was I going to cheer when he was announced? Darn tootin’. The last time I cheered for a player of the opposing team, I absorbed about 30 angry glares. That was last September, when I cheered for Matt Kemp during a Reds – Dodgers game (the game where we were SUPPOSED to clinch the NL Central). This time, when I hooted and hollered for Trout, I could feel 30,000 angry looks.
I redeemed myself, though, because then the focus was shifted on the Reds’ coaching staff. I heard familiar names and a few strange ones. I was hit hard, however, when they called one that I had forgotten about.
Miggy. My Miggy. I had forgotten about Miggy!
Miguel Cairo was an idol to me during his playing years. When the Reds acquired him in 2010, I was beyond ecstatic. Seeing him now as special assistant to the GM made me tear up. Everyone in my row chuckled at my emotion, but I couldn’t help it. Miguel Cairo is such an inspiration to me and if I can’t cry over his success, then what is there to cry over?
Then the big moment came. The Reds’ roster was being announced.
“Number 39…..Devin Mesoraco!”
I jumped out of my seat and squealed. I was beyond thrilled when Mes had made the team, but this kind of validation was the push I needed to get me on my feet and cheering. He was really there, and I was really there, and I was ready for baseball.
The game began and had me glued to my seat the whole time. The people who had so graciously granted me a ticket decided to leave after the 10th inning, which devastated me, but what was I to do? By the 12th inning I was home, watching the end of my first Opening Day. Although the Reds dropped the ball (literally, if you consider J. J. Hoover’s pitch that struck a batter to load the bases during the 13th) and lost to the Angels 3-1, my first Opening Day was absolutely perfect.
With that, I’m Molly-Cin, signing out (and ready for the season of a lifetime).
“Things could be worse. Suppose your errors were counted and published every day, like those of a baseball player.” — Unknown
In Cincinnati, it is cold. Today is March 22nd and it is currently 44 degrees Fahrenheit. Wait…what? So much for “In like a lion, out like a lamb.” I can hardly see spring through this lion’s thick mane! Fortunately, Florida and Arizona are toasty and the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues are in full swing (no pun intended). With so little time before Opening Day arrives, I can’t help but tremble with anticipation. The season is almost here!
With that, I’m Molly-Cin, anxiously signing out.
“I’m convinced that every boy, in his heart, would rather steal second base than an automobile.” — Tom Clark
Hello, friends! I’m just dropping by to share my sheer excitement over Spring Training. I’ve been following Mark Sheldon’s blog Mark My Word religiously to keep myself updated on all the Cincinnati gossip. How are your teams progressing so far? Let me know what teams to check out; I may even choose to write a post about the teams you suggest!
With that, I’m Molly-Cin, signing out.
“Progress always involves risks. You can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first.” — Frederick B. Wilcox
While studying the minor league prospects for the Cincinnati Reds, I stumbled across a familiar name: Yorman Rodriguez. A smile passed over my face as I remembered my day with the Dragons. I had my first (and only) run in with this kid in July of 2012 at a Bowling Green Hot Rods – Dayton Dragons game. Surrounded by 200 other teenagers, all of whom were rooting for BG, I felt pretty alone cheering for the Dragons. Nevertheless, I kept my spirits up and screamed my heart out for my favorite Class A team. Around the 6th inning, things were looking pretty dismal for the Dragons. They were down by a few runs and the Hot Rods were at bat. I cheered my hardest to let the Dragons know that they had at least one fan in the stands. With two outs, the batter popped up to center field. I shrieked, “GO DRAGONS!” when the ball was caught by one of the players. The inning was over and I kept on cheering as the team exited the field. Suddenly, the center fielder turned to me, grinned, and tossed the third-out ball up at me. I nearly passed out from excitement. Never in my life had I received a ball at a baseball game, and this one was delivered with personal pizzazz! My friends all laughed and cheered as Yorman Rodriguez, the player who had so graciously thrown the ball to me, ran back to the dugout. I don’t think I’m ever going to forget the rush that being noticed gave me. The kindness of one stranger obviously goes a long way, and I am forever grateful to Yorman Rodriguez for reminding me why I love baseball so much.
With that, I’m Molly-Cin, signing out.
“This is a game to be savored, not gulped. There’s time to discuss everything between pitches or between innings.” — Bill Veeck