I love baseball, truthfully ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you I am a bit of a sports fanatic all together, but I really love the sport of baseball.
From five-year-old coach pitch all the way up to the Major League-I am a diehard Seattle Mariners fan- I can’t get enough of America’s Past Time.
There is just something about the sport that calls to me. I love the history of the game, movies about baseball, baseball quotes and according to my husband I have a bit of an obsession for any type of baseball clothing and accessories- Mariners or generic. I’m even a bit obsessed with buying other people baseball gear and at birthdays and Christmas it’s a safe bet to say my husband and children are going to get something from their favorite team. I’ve lost count of the number of Mariners hats my husband has been given over the years, but I also happily buy my daughter clothing from her Colorado Rockies.
And what’s not to love; take movie quotes for an example. I can think of so many great ones: “Some days you win, some days you lose and some days it rains”— Bull Durham. I know I am guilty of busting out my best Tom Hanks impression on a weekly basis: “There’s no crying in baseball”—A League of Their Own. It doesn’t even have to apply to baseball and I often change it up to suit the moment. “There’s no crying in track,” “There’s no crying in the kitchen,” etc.
My family celebrates opening day every spring the way most people do the Super Bowl or Thanksgiving even. We go all out with peanuts, Cracker Jacks, homemade corn dogs and garlic fries among other things.
Garlic fries you may ask, well yes, because that is another one of the things that makes baseball great. All of the team’s stadiums have their own signature foods from the Dodger Dog at Dodger Stadium to my personal favorite the garlic fries at Safeco Field in Seattle. There is nothing I would rather do on a summer night then sit in that stadium with an ice-cold beer and a basket of those delicious aromatic fries.
Food and baseball have always gone hand in hand. In the early day of the game spectators would pack up their families and a big picnic lunch to watch their local teams. That is one of my other favorite things about MLB, most stadiums and maybe even all of them, still allow you to take in your own food and non-alcoholic drinks (as long as the drinks are sealed and some even allow restaurant style cups).
Lining the streets and parking lots around areas of stadiums like Safeco are numerous vendors selling everything from bottles of water to licorice rope and bags of kettle corn for much cheaper than you can get them inside. Families still cook up big batches of hotdogs, wrap them in tinfoil and pack them and buns for a night at the ball park. I don’t have to tell anyone who has gone to an entertainment venue how much of a god send that could be if you were trying to have a good time on a budget; food at any venue can be very expensive.
Everything about trying to attend a sporting event can be pricey from college clear up to the professional level. Baseball tries to avoid that. At MLB stadiums across the country you can still buy a ticket for under $10 if you take advantage of promotions or don’t mind a week night game. Of course, in a place like Seattle you can get a bit of ticket shock still due to the high entertainment tax in the city, but I can’t imagine what a day out at a Seahawks game across the parking lot at Century Link Field would run a person. Baseball still tries to keep America’s Game something everyone can afford the chance to enjoy.
I could go on about everything that makes this sport so great for quite some time. I haven’t even mentioned the seventh inning stretch, baseball cards, the strategy of the game, how players have an unwritten code and still “police” the game themselves, the fun of watching the excitement on the face of an American League pitcher when he is matched up in inter-league play and gets to bat. Only one athlete in MLB has participated in kneeling during the national anthem. One.
Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947 by signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers and becoming the first African American to play the sport and on April 15 every year the league celebrates with every player in the league wearing the number 42. The history of the game is something I love and one day I plan to write a “This month in history” piece on the leagues here in the early 1900’s when teams from Mountain Home, Bruneau, Glenns Ferry and Atlanta would all match up while the communities got together for picnics, a ball game and usually a scuffle or two between the rival teams, but as for this editorial, I haven’t even gotten to my point yet.
My absolute favorite thing about baseball is watching young kids learn how to play the game and fall in love with it. My favorite baseball quote is “You don’t need a ticket to see some of the best baseball in the world. You just need to drive one of the players to the game,” and I agree one hundred percent. I love to watch my son play ball. My next favorite thing is the Little League Baseball World Series.
Just like every little kid who plays the game dreams of one day growing up to play in the big leagues they also dream of playing in Williamsport Pennsylvania.
Every year since 1947 All Star teams made up of ten to twelve- year-olds from around the world travel to the mecca of Little League ball to compete against 15 other teams- a total of eight U.S. teams and eight international teams who have each won at their respective regional level.
This year, Mountain Home’s 12U team is closer than ever to fulfilling that dream. After a very successful tournament season the team won the state championship on July 7 and in two weeks they will have a chance to play in the regional round and advance to Williamsport, PA, to represent the Pacific Northwest.
Plans have not been announced yet for anything in the works like a send-off for the kids or if Mountain Home- fingers crossed here- will be featured in one of the region games that will be broadcast on ESPN. Whatever ends up being planned, I encourage our community to show these kids we are rooting for them and are proud of all the hard work, time and money to travel that they and their families have put in. Between spring ball, the summer tournaments and fall ball there is a lot of time spent on the baseball diamond. Many of them have probably been doing it since these kids were four to five years old and getting distracted by butterflies and dandelions in the outfield at Legacy or Eastside Parks and have earned every bit of any accolades sent their way.
Good luck kids, we are proud of you. You’ve got this.