Now that the USA is out of the World Cup it looks like we can all finally re-shift our attention back to the single greatest sport in the world... BASEBALL! Well, maybe there is no such thing as "single greatest sport in the world," but in just a few days I'll be leading a group of 100 Middle Eastern, North African, and Near Asian students from the Global Business Institute to an Indianapolis Indians baseball game to introduce them to our national pastime and watch fireworks. I'm real excited about it. To bolster excitement for the trip I've tried to come up with my Top 10 reasons why baseball is great. Here's what I've come up with so far but I'd be real curious to hear from others about why they love baseball... What'cha got?
1. Well, for personal reasons, baseball is my childhood… It represents everything I cared about for every summer of my life from age 7 to 17.
2. It is America’s national pastime. As a kid it was my game. It was also my father’s game. It was his father’s game too and so on. Nostalgia plays a big part in all of this.
3. A stolen base in the Fall of 2004 is still among the most exciting things that I’ve ever witnessed in my life. I'll never get sick of watching this Dave Roberts highlight...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQ-VM4UDq-E
4. Group Singing… Who doesn’t love singing along with 35,000 strangers? Sure, I might pass on singing 'Sweet Caroline,' but I'll always partake in the singing of this little gem:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4-gsdLSSQ0
5. There are good guys and there are bad guys. In this case, the Boston Red Sox are the good guys and the New York Yankees represent everything that is evil and wrong in the world.
6. Free Souvenirs… beyond the souvenirs found in the gift shop, approximately 120 baseballs (aka: free souvenirs) are hit into the stands during the average professional baseball game. Sure, there’s the risk of injury involved, but this only ensures that more people pay attention to the game so as to not get hit in the head by a foul ball. In all my years of going to baseball games, I’ve only caught a foul ball once. It’s rare, but extremely exciting when it happens.
7. I’m no fan of brawling in sports, but the single greatest move I’ve ever seen by a player who is upset came from Izzy Alcantara in a 2001 baseball game: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2uGROwr-rY
8. A baseball field is a work of art. The crack of a bat, the smell of fresh cut grass, and the sight of beautifully groomed infields are among of the most pleasing sensations my ears, eyes, and nose have beheld.
9. Most stadiums, Indianapolis included, have a section of the stadium where fans can see how fast they can throw a baseball… After watching a game, it always looks so easy. During almost every game I start to feel like I too can throw a baseball 100 mph… Inevitably I pay a couple dollars to play the Speed Pitch game and throw my arm out on the first pitch. That sore, achy feeling in my elbow is a reminder of the great time I had at the baseball game and it lasts for WEEKS!
10. In the end, I love baseball because it is a commitment to relaxing with friends. Every game takes roughly three hours, often more, and going to one with friends means that I am dedicating a significant portion of my day to just hanging out with friends in a beautiful park, enjoying the thrills of the crowd, and soaking up a family-friendly atmosphere in which I love to be immersed. I love seeing kids learning how to keep score of a game or trying to meet with players in between innings or run for foul balls… It’s how the game was passed down to me and I’m always happy to see the cycle continue and even help when I can.
I think the trip has potential to be somewhat challenging because the game has a lot of rules and it can be real confusing for people who have never seen baseball before. I certainly understand that. It’s how I felt when I went to Brazil a few years back and for the first time I began to appreciate soccer. It’s how I felt when I went to Finland and watched pesäpallo for the first time too. It’s new and weird, for sure, but I'm optimistic that we're going to have a GREAT time at the ol' ball game! And even if things don't go our way (Go Indians!), at least we still get fireworks after the game!