Sports column: Baseball opener unites fansMajor league baseball is back in stadiums across the country. America’s favorite pastime is now ready to be part of our cold spring evenings, warm summer nights and crisp fall afternoons and I, for one, couldn’t be more excited about it.
Major league baseball is back in stadiums across the country. America’s favorite pastime is now ready to be part of our cold spring evenings, warm summer nights and crisp fall afternoons and I, for one, couldn’t be more excited about it.
The baseball season is long, really long. 162 regular season games that begin in March, and the season doesn’t come to an end until a champion is crowned in October. Baseball is a sport much unlike any other as it’s there for its fans almost every night of the week. It’s rare to have a night when you can’t find a baseball game to watch.
I know many sports fans, and when it comes to sports fans, there are none that are like baseball fans. Baseball is its own little world that means so much, to so many people.
A quote by former baseball commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti describes the emotional connection the game has for so many: “[Baseball] breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall all alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops.”
Duluthian Lindsay Kern, an avid Bulldog hockey fan, said she considers herself a moderate baseball fan and a fan of the game for the return of spring.
“I do love sports but I’m more about the game environment — don’t ask me a single player’s name because I won’t be able to tell you,” she said. “Twins baseball is a sport that seems to unite the state and the start of the season means spring has to be near — even up here in the Twin Ports.”
Erick Perala isn’t a baseball fanatic but he does look forward to the Milwaukee Brewers opener each year and follows their season.
“I like the ups and downs of baseball games and the season as a whole,” he said. “With football I’m always at the edge of my seat. With baseball I can relax and enjoy a game but there are times where it sucks you in and gets you excited.”
Perala also knows what he’s going to find on TV for the next six to seven months.
While Perala isn’t always on the edge of his seat, Julie Geissler, a former Duluth Denfeld softball player may disagree.
“I just think baseball is such an exciting, action-packed game and the dynamics can change so much between April and October that it keeps fans on their toes,” Geissler said. “I love the passion that baseball fans share! And for us Minnesotans it signals that spring and summer are just around the corner.”
She considers the sport to be an addiction.
For some, introduced to the game by parents or grandparents or siblings, the start of the season is a reminder of the love that they shared with that family member.
“Growing up, I would go to games at Wade Stadium with my grandpa and it was something that just he and I would do,” Ashley Hoppe said.
Hoppe is also an avid football fan, but finds baseball to be different.
“What makes baseball so different, to me anyway, from any other sport is that the game can change in a blink of an eye — one play could change the course of the game,” she said. “One bad pitch or a missed catch changed the momentum in the opposition’s favor.”
On April 1, it was no joke as fans of local teams broke out their cold-weather gear and attended the Opening Day festivities at both Target Field in Minneapolis and Miller Park in Milwaukee.
Duluthian Sarah Packingham writes about sports for the Budgeteer. Contact her at email@example.com.