Friday, December 21, 2012

The Best Friend One Could Have

There are a lot of times when I find myself looking forward to the time between 3 and 4 PM. During baseball season it's when the Mets lineup is usually announced. It's the hour that starts best part of the day. A lot of times I essentially sleep-walk through the day until the Mets game starts. It is not the most productive way to spend my days, but sometimes it is what I have to do.

Baseball season encompasses six months of the year. Every day there is a game. It doesn't not show up because you got upset about the previous night's results. If a game is supposed to happen and it doesn't, it's rescheduled and is ultimately still there. Baseball doesn't care if you had a fight with your (ex)-best friend. It doesn't care if you're too sick to leave the house. Baseball will be there.

From April through September there will be bats and gloves and baseballs and teams playing games. Hundreds of teams playing every single day. The excitement of those five strikeouts in a row. The exhilaration of back-to-back home runs. For a few minutes nothing else has to matter. Put all the events together and you have hours where baseball can be the only thing in the world. Those afternoons and nights are the best parts of the day.

But they are also the most evil parts of the year. They're what makes those other months of the year so difficult. The weeknights when you stare at your homework for hours, simply because you have no reason to finish it early. The minutes and hours and days after a fight when you just desperately want something else to think about. Any time you need an escape from the reality of your own life.

It's what makes rumors, trades, and signings so big. They're the closest you can get to that escape. But the distraction of each isn't quite as long. So you need more. The rumors come pouring at you and you want them all to be true. Each new rumor brings you daydreams of that player making a diving catch and hitting a screaming line drive. You need them to be true because otherwise your moment in baseball bliss is over.

This is why the first sights of Spring Training are so amazing. No longer do you have to fantasize about the dirt-stained uniforms. The smack of bat to ball and ball to mitt is real once again. On August 11 these simple workouts would be a drag, but on February 11 they are the best thing in existence.

The alternate reality comes back. There is something to catch you when you fall. Baseball is there once again to hold your hand through the bad times and make the good times even better.

The best thing about baseball is that it always comes back. Baseball's reality doesn't make your reality worse with lockouts and never ending negotiations.

For essentially my entire life baseball has been a constant. If it hurts me one night it comes back the next day and does whatever it can to make up for its wrongdoings. It has never been on the phone or gone to do errands when it promised to show up. I never had to ask twice to spend time with it.

It's baseball. It just is amazing.

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