Why baseball is the greatest game in the world.
I remember it well. Riding in the car, driving the three and a half hours from Fresno to San Francisco with my parents, brother and my best friend.
Crossing the Bay Bridge I finally saw it, the most beautiful sight I have ever laid my eyes on. Pac Bell Park, as it was known back then, as it sat right on the edge of the bay.
I was going to my very first Giants baseball game, a game against the Padres when I was in my early teens. I was beyond excited, I was giddy with anticipation.
Getting out of the car in the monstrous parking lot and walking to the gate with the scores of other people ready to see their beloved Giants play the game we all love was an experience all on its own.
Walking up the steps to the main concourse, I had no idea what I was in store for. And then it happened.
The sight of the sun splashed diamond and the perfectly manicured infield dirt and pitchers mound. The greenest grass that you would ever hope to see. The ball players warming up in the outfield doing their long toss routines.
The breathtaking view of the right field brick wall that overlooks the waters of McCovey Cove, named after the Giants hall of fame slugger Willie McCovey.
The wonderful aromas of popcorn and hot dogs filled the air as they tickled my nose.
I knew that I had just walked into heaven on earth.
As we made our way to our seats, hordes of fans lined up down the foul line section waiting for a chance to have their heroes sign their gloves, posters and whatever other memorabilia they could think of.
A wondrous rendition of our country’s anthem played and then came the first pitch.
The Giants won that day, and the game won my heart forever.
The experience that I just described is both unique and common at the same time. Millions of people throughout the 130 plus year history of baseball have done the exact same thing, and yet we all have our own stories to tell.
Fathers and sons have bonded while making a day of going out to the yard and catching a game.
I say all of that to say this. Other sports are great, but baseball the greatest game that mankind ever created. There are just too many reasons why.
It has the capability of bringing together 40 plus thousand random strangers in nearly every park across the country to root for one common goal, the home team to win.
If you have ever been to a game then you know the feeling of electricity that courses through your body as the crowd roars after a mammoth blast to give your team the lead or a strikeout of the opposing team’s best hitter in a crucial situation. It’s beyond special. It’s like no other feeling imaginable.
My love for the game goes beyond just the social aspect of it though. No, there is much more to it than that.
The aesthetics of the game are what really get me. The cracking sound of the bat meeting ball. The indescribable sight of the glove makes as the shortstop bends down to scoop up the ball and make the throw to the base.
These are simple pleasures, but they mean so much.
But the game is much more than that. Baseball has a way of transcending sports and impacting the real world.
The game has been at the forefront of major social and civil changes. In 1947, Jackie Robinson paved the way for african americans to be included by heroically enduring the endemic racism in the game’s and country’s culture. The man encountered countless death threats, discrimination and other vile behavior, yet he still persevered because he knew that what he was doing was the right thing.
The advancement of civil rights owe a debt of gratitude to baseball for its contribution to the cause.
And likewise, the game has a unique sense of community that is incomparable to any other sport.
Obviously, the players form a bond together simply by being around each other for even more time than their families during the season. But also the fans share their own special bond.
I, for one, have made friends just through the mutual love and admiration of baseball. I am a part of a group on Facebook called “Let’s Talk Baseball” that is comprised of others just like me who love the game. Including a new friend named Jake Robinson, who founded the group along with Michael Franks. We bond through our lively discussions about baseball.
These two gentleman run their own baseball podcasts and believe me, these guys know their stuff. Jake’s podcast is named “The Jake Robinson Sports Experience” and Michael’s podcast is called “The Grand Slam”.
The guys have been popular enough to be picked up by the likes of Google play and iHeartRadio.
I highly recommend listening to these guys if you want a fresh, entertaining new perspective on all of the latest happenings in the sport.
All of these things are what make baseball the Great American Game and it doesn’t get any better than this.