By Austin Hutchinson
Folks, baseball is back.
I know, I’m a month and a half late. But once mid-may comes along, the flowers start blooming, and so do homeruns. I can listen to the Cubs or White Sox on the radio while sipping a glass of lemonade filled to the brim with ice on my scolding hot porch.
Ok. Perhaps I’m not that “old school”, but still, watching, listening and playing baseball are all summertime novelties in my house.
This year shows promise, said no Cubs fan ever. I lied. My favorite team, the Chicago Cubs, have shown promise. They’re lineup, if not already devastating, is already pretty solid with Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant in the middle of it. Their pitching is nothing to scoff at, and will (ahem) hopefully improve as they accumulate more talent through free agency the next couple of years.
The White Sox have Jose Abreu and Chris Sale. Enough said. They still need to put it all together, but they could contend for a wild-card spot if they can jumpstart their hitting in U.S. Cellular Field as the warmer summer months roll around.
Every year all Major League Baseball teams seem to have a chance to win it all. Last year, two wild card teams faced off in the World Series. In 2012, the Boston Red Sox were one of the worst teams in baseball. The very next year, they won the World Series.
Baseball is unpredictable. Even more so than any other sport. Because it relies so heavily on individual performance and chance during every game, it contrasts heavily with the three other major American sports.
In sports such as, hockey, basketball and football, things constantly are happening within each and every moment during a game, whereas baseball, we slow down, the pitcher throws the ball, the batter hits it, the fielders get it and they throw it to the correct based. Its precisely logical, beautiful in my eyes.
Yet, it’s extremely tedious. It can take at the least four or five, sometimes up to 10-12, pitches every at bat to finally get the outcome of a strikeout, walk, or ball in play. And the breaks between those pitches take up to 30 seconds, that can mean three or four minutes with just one of the 70 at bats in a game.
This generation (I admit, I’m apart of it) has no patience. None at all. Yes, with all their gadgets, all the smartphones, tablets, iPods, you name it, they need communication and knowledge promptly, right at their fingertips, every single second. You get the point.
Because of our unhealthy and involuntary requirements to have things right now, everything we enjoy has to be the same too. Why do you think America loves football and basketball? There’s always action going on. And if you do stop, its not planned. Its spur of the moment. It gives more of a heart-clenching, what’s going to happen next feel to it. And we love that. I’m not gonna lie, I love it too. But baseball is more than that.
Baseball has a beauty and grace to it no other sport has. Its slow and methodical ways, the stepping into the batter’s box, the clapping of the dusty hands, the shuffle of the feet. The stare down between the batter and pitcher.
Everything has a beauty to it. A rhythm. A connection. Remember the scene in the movie “August Rush” where young August sees everything around him like it’s a huge musical score? Baseball, to the lover of the game, is exactly like that. To see the minor details all put together to make this wonderful game, is why we watch and play the sport.
To this generation, most of you will despise this game. You will say it’s boring. Lame. Slower than a Cecil Fielder trot around the field after a homerun.
But, to those who find the same love I have always had since a young child, from tee ball to travel, to a hopeful Cubs’ year to another hopeful Cubs’ year, to writing this piece for you, I commend you. You have found beauty that no one else has seen, nor will.
In the words of Yogi Berra, “Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good, too.”