Some of my faithful followers may recall my proclaiming that I would become a baseball fan this summer. That may not sound like a big deal to you, but it’s a major challenge for me. With the exception of football, I have never really followed one particular sport. I am not known for my sports expertise or enthusiasm. In fact, one of my favorite T-shirts I wear is one my son gave me for father’s day years ago. It features a picture of Snoopy defining me as “Unathletic Dad.”
I decided that I would follow one team this summer and become a “devoted fan.” Why? Well, I just wanted to get my brain involved in something new and different; something I had a basic understanding of so it would present a short learning curve. The trouble with most sports for me is that they take a good amount of devotion if you are to become a true fan. I’ve been a devoted football fan in the past, but even that got too difficult for me to handle. I’m too antsy. I’ve always been impatient and a bit hyper and I have a hard time sitting still through anything that takes up a lot of time. I basically need a snow plow to clear my calendar for an entire season of baseball.
I asked my friend, Ron, who is a calm and collected kind of baseball fanatic to pick a team for me to follow this year. I did not want to go with the Marlins, the Phillies or the Nationals—all of which represent places where I have lived for long periods of time. Nope, I wanted a clean slate with no pre-knowledge of the team or any of its players, plus I added on a few more qualifications. In short, Ron selected the Chicago Cubs as the team that met my criteria, the one I should adopt and root for. So the Cubs are it.
I went to their website last month and read all about them. Already they upset their fans (and me!) by sending some hotshot hitter back to the minors to “simmer” and mature a little more despite he hit more home runs in pre-season than anyone else on the team. Oh-oh, sounds like the Marlins all over again. Oh well, I will have to wait and see. Rumor has it they will bring him back later on. Besides, this guy played 3rd base and the team already has a good player at that position. Hey, check me out—already I’m talk’n baseball.
Last week I stopped at the “Lid” store at the mall and looked at some baseball gear. Wow! Prices on this stuff sure have changed. I thought I’d get a simple Cubs cap and it cost $45!!! I passed. I’ll wait another month to see if I really follow through with all this. Otherwise I can think of half a zillion things better I can spend $45 on. Then too, if I want an official Cubs baseball shirt that’ll be over $100. I don’t think they sell those triangular pennants anymore which were about a buck when I was a kid. Guess I’m a cheap fan right now…maybe later in the season I’ll loosen up a little. I did plop down the bucks to be able to watch some games on mlb.tv on the Internet. I thought that was important to be able to actually watch the games, especially if I wanted to learn the team and be a fan.
Chicago’s opening game was last Sunday night. Opening Day is a big deal in baseball and if you are a true fan YOU ARE THERE! That’s the day my computer crashed and half died on me. I got a little distracted. By the time I had gotten it half way back to life I realized I missed the game! So already I’m not a very good fan. I forgot most of the next game too, but it got rained out so I got lucky. I saw my first entire game last night. Chicago lost. And I’m watching tonight’s game right now as I’m writing this posting. That’s one thing that is good about baseball—you can multi-task while the game is going on. In fact, as I watch people in the stands, many of them aren’t paying much attention to the game either. Tons of people are doing other things and if something half-eventful happens in the game they all-of-a-sudden get involved. Me too.
So far I’ve learned the names of a few of the Cubs but I still don’t recognize them if they didn’t have their names written across the back of their uniforms. But it’s early in the season. Who knows how far I’ll go with this? It’s only my second game I’m watching and so far all that comes to mind is a song by Meatloaf about getting past 2nd base with the girl he’s got in the car with him…”Paradise by the Dashboard Lights” is the title…check it out if you can; it’s a great song…a little long, 9 minutes if I remember. Meanwhile, the game just ended and my Cubbies–MY Cubbies–won 9-3. Tah-dah-dah-daaahhhh…CHARGE!
Breaking Sports News…the Cubs have won their last two games with come-from-behind rallies in the 8th inning…this team has spunk! Hmmm, is “spunk” a baseball term? Anyway, it was exciting baseball and my Cubbies taught the other two teams not to take them for granted! I shall have some popcorn to celebrate their spunkness!