Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Concept

I know there are fans of the great game of baseball out there... and I know this because I interact with several of them.

The game has taken many hits over the past decade or so: Inflated salaries to match reported inflated egos. Free-spending owners passing their self-inflicted costs on to the fans, threatening to make enjoying a day at the ballpark as expensive as seeing a contest from the other major professional sports leagues. Teams threatening moves if public funded stadiums, filled with bells and whistles (oh, and a bunch of suites for the corporate "sponsors"), are not offered. Steroids. And, to top it all off, a tie in the All-Star Game.


Now, I am not saying that those reasons listed above didn't actually occur, I am simply stating that the baseball fan is out there. Waiting. Almost too patiently.

Waiting for the next run at a major record, like the McGwire/Sosa duel. (Yeah, I know - hindsight is 20/20 in regards to how the record may have been broken - but it was still captivating, even to the average fan.) Waiting for the next team to conquer its own demons like the White Sox of 2005 or the Red Sox of 2004. Waiting for the heralded prospect for the hometown team to burst on to the big league scene in a major way because, after all, baseball is all about optimism.

And some of us are already waiting for the first pitch. Those are the ones that I am trying my best to assemble here.

So far, I have had two take me up on my offer.

First was Steamer. This is a guy who has had baseball on his mind pretty much his entire life. (When I read John Grisham's "A Painted House", it was impossible to separate the young boy that the story revolved around from Steamer in my mind.) He grew up in Arkansas as a St Louis Cardinal fan. He went on to pitch at the University of Arkansas. But, best of all, he is a GREAT baseball story teller.

He gets so emotionally involved in the subject that it is hard (impossible, actually) to feel apathy toward the game or anyone he may be writing about. Years ago he started writing his "baseball diaries", a memoir of sorts that began with his little league appearances and led up to his college career. Brilliant stuff, though I am not sure if he ever finished what was on his mind.

I hope he finds this the right spot to start from the beginning, and that he will repost them here.

And then there is Rose...

She has a brilliant baseball mind, an extraordinary sharp wit, and she is quite probably the smartest person I have ever met. Her baseball points might bounce around from stats-based deep thoughts to subtle humor that truly reveal her genius. And, to me, that is a perfect combination.

And to all you single guys in the L.A. area? She's single, too. And attractive. So if you are not intimidated by a woman who has forgotten more than you will ever know, start lining up now.

Lastly, there is me.

Both of my parents grew up in Rhode Island as Red Sox fans, so baseball has always been a part of my life. The family moved to Texas when I was five years old and that is when I became a Texas Rangers fan. I've been one ever since, believe it or not. And finding true fans of the great game is a challenge in this football-crazed state. Thankfully, we have this amazing tool known as The Internet.

It has allowed me to meet people such as Steamer and Rose. It gave me my first freelance writing gig (emphasis on "free"), allowing me to talk baseball whenever I wanted, to an audience that was actually receptive. But I yearned for something with more participation. Something less structured and spanning the continent. And that something is this.

Let's see where "this" goes...