My Baseball Story

My baseball story is quite different from Joel and Will. I did not grow up in a family where sports were discussed, played, or watched. If I wanted to participate, which I did, I was never discouraged but I cannot say that I was ever truly encouraged. My first experience with a baseball diamond was in the 5th grade when I played for a small town softball league (little league baseball was not an option for us at that time). I played catcher, was terrified of getting hit by a softball bat, and with the exception of the random contact I would make with the ball as the 9th hitter in the line-up, I hated it. I liked the idea of being on a team and the camaraderie that came with being a part of something but I could have found that with the math team or quiz bowl team. It did not have to be sports.

I moved to Cartersville, Ga the summer between my 5th and 6th grade year and befriended a kid named Joseph. Joseph played baseball and in the spring of my 6th grade year, Joseph’s mom asked my mom if I could play, promising to take me to all of the games and get me home. My mom agreed and before long I impressed the coaches with my ability to catch pop flies in the outfield (I played catch with myself a lot!). I was drafted by the Phillies (a name I have learned to hate over this last year) and became the starting left fielder. After a few games, I was moved to third base and fell in love with the game of baseball. Unfortunately, we moved away from Joseph and his family before the next season and I never played baseball again. The Braves were getting a lot of attention and everyone seemed to be talking about them (my 6th grade baseball season was in 1992) and I tried to become a baseball fan, but it was not the same as playing the game. My cousin pushed me on the A’s bandwagon in the late ‘80s but unless Henderson was stealing a base or the Bash Brothers were at the plate, I could not find interest in watching the game. As a native Georgian I am embarrassed to say it, but I could not have cared any less about the Atlanta Braves in the 1990s.

Over the last two decades, I have watched baseball here and there but I have never really understood the sport. The strategies used were invisible to me. I saw it as mostly a game between a pitcher and a batter. What do line-ups matter? Who cares how the outfield is positioned? Do we really need speed in a lead off hitter? For me, baseball was nothing more than a game of chance, a lottery of sorts between the hitter and pitcher. Over the years I watched a few World Series games, went to a MLB game when I was stationed in Washington, when my once beloved A’s visited Seattle in the summer of 2002 (not knowing that the A’s 2002 season would be analyzed and turned into one of my favorite books and movies), and I went to a University of Georgia game against Georgia Tech in 2008. Many people can become fans of a game just by visiting and watching in person, but for me, I needed to understand the importance of every defensive shift, of every line up change, of every pitch.

That is why this blog was important for me. Joel and Will were able to put their passion to pen and paper and convince me last summer that there was more to baseball than hits and misses, strikes and balls, wins and losses. I started watching the Braves play last summer and things started making sense. If they did not, I simply sent Joel and/or Will a message asking them to explain, which they kindly did. I was able to catch the Braves’ 19th inning game against the Pirates and will likely forget the controversial call to end the game before I will forget the “Let’s Go Pirates” girl that was sitting in center field. I was able to watch Uggla go on impressive hitting streak. I was also able to watch with despair the final weeks of baseball as the Braves slowly lost their Wild Card. But most importantly, I was able to experience the love of baseball in ways I never thought possible. And now I get to share my love with my 3-year-old son, with my wife, and with friends who may be in the same spot I was less than a year ago. Home Team!

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One response to this post.

  1. […] a brand new contributor to our humble blog and did a great write up on his love for baseball. Check it out! Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this […]

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