I believe that baseball is life and life is baseball. I believe we get a limited number of at-bats. I believe umpires sometimes make bad calls. I believe people who think baseball is boring ought to witness the none-to-nose screaming exchange between a coach and an ump following the aforementioned, the guy rounding the bases attempting to beat the throw home by slamming himself into or sliding head-first into the catcher, or diving catch. I believe small ball and sac flys are not to be underestimated. I believe getting hit by a pitch to avoid you hitting the ball out of the park, or in retaliation, is unavoidable. I believe sometimes you earn a walk, sometimes you get caught looking, or go down swinging. I believe there are times to come through in the clutch. I believe we are expected to have slumps and real fans never leave the game in the middle of the 7th. I believe in a season(s) we sometimes we emerge as the MVP. I believe that despite the times we experience the burden of carrying a team, coaches and teammates in the form of friends, smarts, or will– get us through a long season. I believe fans are temperamental–at times loyal, rooting for you despite the standings, and ruthless if you are not performing. I believe in the fellowship of baseball aficianados. I believe sitting in the sweltering sun at the ballpark, while chowing down hot dogs, cracking open, and popping peanuts builds character. I believe we all need good pinch-hitters, pinch-runners, and relief pitchers. I believe great defensive plays deserve a hearty applause. I believe the sound the ball makes when cracking against the bat, makes fans good-crazy. I believe in filling out scorecards and singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” no matter how bad your voice. I believe when your guy hits a home run, there is hope in the world. I believe sometimes a ball gets lost in the sun. I believe listening to a game on the radio and yelling at it is good for the soul. I believe in sticking out rain delays no matter how long. I believe taking off your hat and throwing it on the ground is a healthy way to vent. I believe there are times we rally to come from behind. I believe the excitement a suicide squeeze, a tie game in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded and two outs, a guy with Ricky Henderson speed stealing bases, and a catcher with a [-arm] throwing out base runners, damn-good pitching, fans are on their feet cheering on their team, generates– is unparalleled. I believe that baseball diamonds are a girl’s best friend. I believe in coming out of the dugout and tipping your hat to the crowd when they clamor-is a sign of respect. I believe baseball is like oxygen to the blood. When your team wins the World Series–crying in baseball is allowed, this I believe.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.