My first love

I think when it comes down to it, we all must confess that this off season has been rough. There’s been immense amounts of drama that has transpired from our favorite players being traded to the steroid saga… mostly the steroid saga. As fans, we do what we can to combat the tyranny of the man. Yet, due to the unsettling events that occurred this off season, I think there have been many people who have forgotten what baseball is about; not just what baseball is about but what it means to be a fan and what it means to love a game.

Recently I was involved in a conversation with someone who… well, I think, would have liked to believe that he knew something about baseball. We briefly touched on Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez and our conversation went something like this:

“There’s no way to keep Barry Bonds out of the Hall of Fame, one way or another, he’ll get in”Roids.jpg

Okay, yes, I agreed with that. “Yeah…”

“And it can’t be cheating if you don’t get caught. And even though Alex Rodriguez was caught, he’ll still probably make it into the Hall of Fame.”

“You’re right, A-Rod probably will make it into the Hall of Fame, but that doesn’t mean Bonds didn’t cheat.”

“Oh, come on. He wasn’t doing anything that every other guy in baseball wasn’t already doing.”

“… What? Are you (explicit) kidding me? Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, Alex Rodriguez, all those guys have chosen to give baseball a bad name. Sure, 104 guys tested positive, and sure, there may have been others out there, but their use of steroids doesn’t mean the entire major league or minor league was apart of something so atrocious as to be cheating the game that they’re supposed to live and love to play. The fact that you believe everyone was doing steroids is completely naive and just plain retarded of you.

 (It was a statement of passion and I know, I probably shouldn’t have called him retarded.)

“Saying that everyone else was doing it just proves that you’re falling into the (explicit) belief of ‘guilty by association.’ There are players out there like Hank Aaron and Albert Pujols who have worked hard to give baseball the name that it deserves and your imbecelic accusation gives a bad name to fans as well.”

I certainly didn’t mean to say all that, but it shut him up, and as far as I could tell, we were still on good terms, but needless to say, I was livid and completely seethed the whole way home. Okay, that story aside.

So yesterday at 3:00, 30 Clubs in 30 Days was on, and I mean, it’s true, that show has a way of being on all the time, but it was never the club that I wanted to see. So finally, the Rockies would be on, but, no, I couldn’t watch it, I had to go face rejection from places that I was trying to get a job. The next time it was going to be on was at 2 in the morning. Okay, I thought, I’ll stay up to watch the Rockies. So, 7:24 rolled around and I was exhausted and ready to go to bed. However, at 7:24, Netherland and Puerto Rico were on TV and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to resist the call of baseball, so I stayed awake and watched.

It was a good thing too because then at 8 o’clock, there was a classic Rockies game on FSN. It was their game from April 4, 2005, the season opener. 12 of the 25 on the roster were making their major league debut. Yes, it was back in the days when Todd Helton wasn’t Todd “my goatee is better than Youklis'” Helton and when Matt Holliday had hair.

Oh, and if you’re wondering, 2 o’clock rolled around and Canada and Italy were still playing in the World Baseball Classic so no, I still didn’t get to see my team on 30 Clubs in 30 Days and unless I want to wake up at 5 or 6, I won’t see it until… I think Saturday.

Anyway, back to baseball, what’s difficult is that I can tell you the things I saw, home runs, good pitching, good defense, but I can’t tell you how it felt.

The way it feels to be in love with a game, and for every moment to just… captivate you. I mean, I didn’t really care about the Netherlands/ Puerto Rico game, but it completely enthralled me.

Baseball is considered the greatest game ever played. It has history, players we’ll never forget, trades we’ll always be mad about. Each pitch creates a new opportunity, each hit that leaves you on the edge of your seat that it might get out of the park. Everything about the game is phenomenal. 

I’m on Facebook, and there are these stupid notes that go around that ask you questions about… things. They’re like those chain letters that people send around that get annoying. Anyway, I never fill them out, but as I’m reading them, I answer the questions they ask. One asks about your first love. The fact is… I never had a first love. I thought hockey but ultimately decided that was more of an infatuation than love. So I finally came to the conclusion that I do have a first love, and it’s baseball. I mean, I never dreamed of working with hockey, I never felt the way I do now about baseball. 

Baseball Heart.jpgFor me, baseball is the love of my life and will have ups and downs, and can break my heart, but it’ll be what I always come back to. The feeling that you get when your favorite player hits a home run, the disappointment when your team falls short, the anger of a bad call. Everything that encompasses the game is my life.

What does it mean to be a fan? To love a game? In the hard times and the good, it’s something that you’ll always love. It’ll be what you come back to time and time again, it’ll break your heart, it could bring you to tears, but you’ll always come back.

This off season, a lot of people forgot that, including the commissioner himself. It’s unfortunate that events have led people to believe that there’s no good in baseball. That everyone is juicing that everyone’s a cheater and a liar. It’s left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth, everyone but those of us who know the truth. That baseball is still our American hero and for most of us, it’s still a love, maybe not a first love, maybe not the love of your life, but a love, and that’s what I believe baseball is about. 

1. Photo courtesy:
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  1. juliasrants

    Great post Emily! I don’t know if you read Joe Torre’s new book “The Yankee Years”? It has a really great, great description of the players who years before the PEDs scandal broke tried to get people to listen. The player who were clean and did not like what was going on. It’s worth reading.


  2. gocubbiesjess

    I loved what you wrote about your love for baseball. You are right, even I forgot my love for baseball in the offseason. And I guess, rightfully and humanly so. My Cubs got swept in the playoffs in ’08 against the Dodgers after coming off of one of the best seasons in history, let alone having one of the best records in all of baseball next to the Angels. It was our year. And as I watched my team play it’s WORST 3 games of the entire season, every single in-fielder making an error, losing the 2nd game of the playoffs to the Dodgers 11-4 or whatever that atrocious score ended up being, I lost my faith. I was so angry and hurt that we’d miserably failed that I told myself I would never believe ever again. I spent November and December a bitter, broken up fan rolling my eyes at the ESPN coverage of the steroids use by A-Rod, thinking, “whatever…what’s next?!”

    And as the days passed by and the story quieted down a bit, I actually missed my Cubs. I missed baseball. I missed reading about how my team and other teams were doing in spring training, and then I realized what it’s all about. Baseball is the greatest sport in this country. There’s nothing like it – the ambience, the culture, the feeling you get as a fan. It’s like that movie “Field of Dreams,” the quote from Shoeless Joe Jackson “Can you imagine walking around with the very word of baseball enshrined inside you? It gets inside you. Inside me. And the words that I speak are spirit and are baseball.”

    Even Tom Hanks can be quoted from “A League of Their Own,” saying “Baseball…is what gets inside you. It’s what lights you up, you can’t deny that.”

    It may be corny to quote baseball movies, but if you are a true fan, you get it. And like a true fan, I still believe in my Cubs. Win or lose, they’ve brought me many great memories and lifetime experiences.


  3. AJRoxMyWhiteSox

    I completely feel you on the first love thing. Although mine was football, baseball is my greatest love. No matter what happens, baseball is there. It will make me mad, yes. But it will never abandon me. I totally understand what Jessica is saying in her comment, even though we disagree on which Chicago team is better. 🙂 Between the Sox getting eliminated from the playoffs and the beginning of my blog, I forgot how much I love this game. Thankfully, I remembered my love, and this offseason, baseball officially replaced football as my greatest love.

  4. Elizabeth D

    That was beautiful about your love for baseball. Now that I think of it, it’s my first love too. I am in love with it, obsessed with it, addicted to it, but it’s so enthralling and “captivating” like you said. It embodies everything that we are about, and I think that people like Selig need to remember that.

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