I already miss football.
But there’s no sense holding on to the past, so I googled “spring training.”
I feel better already.
I may be fanatical when it comes to football, and I know there’s still a good stretch of Maryland basketball to be played, but baseball is really where it all started for me.
There’s something about the crack of the bat, the thud of the mitt, the umpire yelling something intended to signify “Strike!” that makes me feel like a kid again, a little girl struggling to understand what a walk was, or to swing a bright red whiffle ball bat, but having no problem alphabetizing a set of Orioles baseball cards from 1992.
The start of baseball season, maybe because it coincides with spring and the return of warmth and sunshine, always seems like a bright new beginning; the grass has never been so green, and the sky never so blue, with so many perfectly fluffed clouds. The infield dirt looks soft like brownie mix straight from the box, and it never seems to rain on Opening Day.
Football season always sort of sneaks up, in the hot few weeks of summer before I’ve really started paying attention, and after a few weekends, it’s over just as soon as it’s started to get good.
Baseball season, though, is like the game itself - or at least how I envision it back when it was America’s National Pastime - relaxed, easy-going, lingering.
It starts with spring training, in Florida or someplace warm, so while I’m in Maryland, listening to spring training games on the radio in the car with my windows down and the heat on, or watching the sunny games on tv, I can trick myself into thinking it’s really spring.
All summer, it’s consistent, long hot days with baseball at night, and slow, humid Sundays grilling and watching the game, and then, just when the days and nights start to turn cool, and legions of fans are distracted by football, baseball slips back into hibernation until the next spring.
Of course, in between there are broken bats and fights and trades and steroids and scandals and broken dreams leading to a single champion, but at this time of year, when the baseball season is so new it hasn’t even happened yet, I think of ice cold Cokes, hot dogs and beautiful summer nights at the ballpark, and I can’t wait for spring training.