The Grapefruit League

Given that the general demographic of serious baseball fans is 45+ year-old men, I consider myself an outlier. I’ve been fascinated with the sport since I was a young teenager, but I didn’t really get into Major League Baseball until I was quite a bit older. In fact, I didn’t even go to my first game until last year when I was nineteen! Better late than never to discover a passion, eh? As a nearly lifelong New England resident, I’m a Red Sox fan of course, and not even my New York origins will make me stray from that. Don’t test me, Yankees. Rivalry runs deep.

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Home sweet home.

I kid, I kid. I would never fight anyone over their preferred team. It’s friendly competition to me, all in good fun. Those who are more in the loop may know that Spring Training started recently down in Florida for the Red Sox (Arizona for some teams). Plenty of people don’t care, plenty of people do. I for one, have been following the pre-season rather closely, and got the opportunity to go to a game on March 11th vs. the Orioles. It’s going to be an interesting split-squad game at JetBlue Park down in Fort Myers. Coincidentally, I happened to already be heading to the western Florida coast with my boyfriend and his family during that week, and managed to snag some pretty solid tickets at resale prices. I’ve never been to a Spring Training game before, and as much as I love good ol’ Fenway, I’m beyond excited for the new experience.

Despite this all still being relatively new to me, I certainly know (and care) more about the sport itself, the Sox players, and the season’s standings, than the average American. I’m not going to bore you all with my opinions on this year’s roster, or the new manager, or anything the layman might not understand. Nonetheless, I do just feel the need to do some baseball rambling, and that’s really why I’m writing this post today.

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Me and my dad at my first Sox game last September!

I think baseball is a fascinating sport. It can be fast-paced, slow-paced, convoluted, simple. It contradicts itself frequently at a moments notice due to the complexity of the rules and the unpredictability of playing styles and strategies. So much goes into the formation of a successful baseball team that not a lot of people realize. It’s all about marketing these days, but I wish I could have grown up in the prime of baseball. Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski… I would have loved to live in eras such as theirs and watched history being made. Hell, I was even too young to truly appreciate when we broke our historic 86-year “curse” in 2004 by winning the World Series. I suppose I need to be glad baseball’s even still around. It wouldn’t shock me if in another century or so, physical sports become totally or nearly obsolete.

I don’t like to think about it.

As much as I love watching the games on TV or listening to my good pals on WEEI, it can’t be argued that nothing beats being there at the park and experiencing it yourself. The yells and cheers of the crowd, the vendors marching up and down through the stands, tossing beers twenty feet across the bleachers. Take Me Out to the Ballgame, Sweet Caroline around these parts. There’s absolutely nothing like a good trip to the ballpark. My boyfriend doesn’t quite understand, but that’s his loss. Someday I’ll drag him to a game with me, and someday he’ll realize he likes it.

Overall, I just really like baseball. Winter without it sucks, and I’m super excited that the pre-season has finally begun. It gives me something to obsess passionately about, and something to do in my spare time. Everyone has a passion or two, and baseball is just one of the many things that adds meaning to my life. What adds meaning to yours?