The Greatest Game
In the early eighties I learned how to count to ten in Spanish via a calendar featuring the Cowboys that my father bought for me at the local McDonald’s. It was still all football back then. I still had no idea that other sports even existed.
My first season of little league I had one hit. By “hit” I mean hit by a pitch. It was the only time I reached base that season and I played it off just like Roger Dorn in Major League with my excessive whining. Hey, I was ten. Cut me some slack. You try getting hit by a thirty mile per-hour fastball and then get back to me. All I remember, other than the screaming fastball at my back, was that my coach looked like a cross between Steve Perry and Freddie Prinze. Not the horrible actor Freddie Prinze Jr. but his father who was famous for “Chico and the Man”.
I soon became a die-hard fan of the game of baseball and continued to play it every year with my friends during the summers of my youth. I even learned to master the art of whiffle ball and would constantly beat my friends at baseball on Nintendo. I thought as I became older that I would become a better baseball player.
I was sadly mistaken.
In ninth grade I joined an Arlington Optimist Baseball team. I played right field and I was as good as Nelson Cruz in the field. Sadly I was horrible at the plate. Just like when I was ten I had one hit. This time it was an actual hit. I was ecstatic! So ecstatic that I failed to pay attention between pitches and was picked off of first base a la Ian Kinsler sleeping at the wheel.
That’s when I realized I was better off studying the game and mastering the stats which led me to where I am today. I am one of the biggest fans of the Texas Rangers around. I have studied the history of the game to the point that I can name every World Series winner from 1980 to today. I’m still working on memorizing the rest.
Now another season of baseball is upon us and I am grateful for how my life turned out (baseball-wise) and wouldn’t trade it for anything except for maybe a few more base hits. And while I never became a star on the field I’d like to think that my popularity is gaining through my knowledge and writing.
After all, it’s still about the greatest game on Earth.