My favorite time of the year

Marcus Charter

Spring is sprung

The grass is ris’

I wonder where

The flowers is

I once read a quote that I found to be very inspiring, especially coming out of a brutal Iowa winter. I don’t remember the author but the quote is great, “The day God created hope, was the day He created spring.” Now the quote doesn’t mention this, but I believe the day hope and spring were created was also the day we got baseball. It is officially that time of year again. Baseball season is here.

Part of me always feels like an old-timer when I profess my love for the national pastime. The youth of today seems to be gravitating away from baseball faster than a Randy Johnson splitter.

It is becoming harder every year to explain ones love of the game to the ballyard “haters”. Why do you like it, it is so boring? The season is way too long! This common lingo has become commonplace in my life from the same people every spring when I start getting excited over the upcoming opening day.

I will be the first to admit that baseball has its share of problems. Salaries are a tad high and the games can be long, but to me it really doesn’t matter. I have the love of the game. Quite honestly, my idea of a perfect afternoon in the early spring is sitting down in front of the tube to watch a Cubs game.

All nine innings, all three-plus hours. If the game goes into extra innings, I am ecstatic.

I can understand why people who have not grown up on the game would think it is boring.

There is quite a bit of time during a typical game where not much is going on. Having played the game myself, I view this downtime differently.

Every moment in a ball game means something. Every glance down to the third base coach could have implications on the outcome of the game. Each pitching change is as much a strategic move as one in a championship chess match.

The salaries aside, baseball is one thing that we have left in this world that is pure. It is amazing to watch grown men diving in the outfield, sliding in the dirt, turning doubleplays and belting homeruns.

A baseball player doesn’t even reach their prime until they are in their thirties. Think about that for a second.

By the way, the hardest thing to do in sports is hitting a major league fastball. To hit one 500 feet or more is a feat that can’t be described by my petty words.

I love everything about the game. The crack of the bat, the color of the grass and the infield dirt. I love the peanuts, the cotton candy and the score cards. You can’t go wrong with an old fashion scoreboard – bases loaded with two outs or the tying run coming to the plate.

Heaven is coming from behind in the ninth, beating the cross-town rival or watching Maddux hurl a gem. Everything about baseball brings a smile to my face.

I hope to one day have a son that I can take to the ballgames like my father took me. We would go down to Sec Taylor Stadium in Des Moines to watch the I-Cubs, and I loved it.

I have vivid memories of asking for autographs and listening to the siren go off after homers. Baseball supplied this opportunity. No other sport I know brings out the little boy or girl in people like baseball.

Opening day will bring about a rash of “sunshine sickness” as kids play hooky from school and grownups take sick days to head to the ballpark. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

I guarantee I will let my son skip a day of school to go to the ballpark with me.

I am nostalgic, I realize this, but life is too short to not be passionate about something. Mine is baseball. I love it in all of its forms, and quite honestly it makes me happy. It’s amazing that a game can offer someone so much.

The sound of “play ball” is mere days away and I am getting antsy. I am ready for 162 days of summer, watching my Cubs from the Wrigley Bleachers and getting excited over a pennant chase.

It is not spring which puts a smile on people’s face. It is what spring has to offer us. Go out and enjoy!

Marcus Charter is a sophomore in journalism and mass communication from Ames.