By this time of the year, I’m usually focused on the upcoming baseball season. I watch the news reports, read the baseball blogs, watch or listen to whatever games are available, and check the schedule to see who is going to which games with me.
But I’m not quite ready. I just returned from an extended visit to the land of cricket, rugby and Aussie Rules football. I escaped the rain and cold in the Bay Area, although it did rain on Uluru (Ayers Rock) when we were there, which is a rare occurrence and hopefully will bring good luck to the Giants this year. After all, The Rock is big and orange
and I was wearing an orange shirt (along with my fly net hat). The rare rain, the big orange rock, the orange shirt – all good signs for a Giants fan.
So I’m slowly warming up to baseball. I’m looking forward to the annual pre-season lunch with the friends who sit near me at the park. In a couple of weeks, we’ll meet at MoMo’s to discuss the possibilities for the new season and just plain enjoy the camaraderie we share. During the season there is often a flurry of texts zipping back and forth among us when the team is out of town, or when there’s news about a trade or a player who is moving on or retiring.
The texts can be full of angst but sometimes, they’re just plain fun. When our season tickets came, happily right before my birthday, I sent photos of the box and the tickets to the friends who share my seats with me. But Jane, who sits next to me, outdid that with one of her famous selfie videos. She sat in front of the package from the Giants wearing her two-flaps-down hat and with great feeling and emotion, opened the box of tickets, describing every aspect. She held up the magnet schedule that came in the box and complained that refrigerators these days don’t alway have magnet-ready doors. I promptly sent her a picture of my frig, full of magnet schedules from over the years. I bought that frig especially to provide a home for the magnet schedules.
Writing this is getting me more in the spirit. One thing I’m NOT looking forward to, though, are some of the new rules about speeding up the game. I’ve always loved the pace and the time that a baseball game takes, and think that 3 hours isn’t too much time to relax, be with friends, experience the great outdoors – which in San Francisco can be Antarctica cold or Australian hot – and enjoy an amazing game with food you won’t get elsewhere. Try finding fried Brussel sprouts or a Caribbean cha-cha bowl at your local fast food outlet!
If people think baseball is long, they’ve never experienced cricket. Even after living in Australia, I still don’t get the game and never really want to. There are some similar terms – innings, pitch and strike are a few – but they have no relation to the meaning in baseball. And test matches can last up to FIVE DAYS! Quite a contrast to the 3 hours of a typical baseball game. I’m not sure how much people really pay attention at a cricket game, either. When I worked in Melbourne, the young ladies in the office would take the week off to attend the matches, but I never heard much about the games when they got back. The conversations were about beer, sitting in the hot sun, and fun at the local pub afterwards. So maybe there are more similarities between cricket and baseball than previously thought. . .
I’ll be ready for Opening Day on April 10, and the annual Reading of the Quote. We meet at high noon, at the top of the stairs by the Third Street entrance, and in unison read the Field of Dreams quote. It puts the game, and our love for baseball, in perspective.
It’s a great game. Let the season begin.