Enjoy the relationship
Every baseball player or coach will eventually take off the uniform and walk away from the field. It is a long, lonely walk and one that we try our hardest to put off as long as we can. Our thoughts run back to those earliest stages of the game filled with dirty uniforms and giggles with your friends in the dugout. Let me tell you; that feeling never changes.
People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.
This game is about the relationship; the relationship with the game, the relationship with your teammates, the relationship with your coach and the relationship with your parents and friends who spend their Saturdays in the stands watching us.
Every player who has walked away from this game will tell you about the relationships.
The relationships with the grass as you stretch in the outfield. The relationship with the way the dirt is kicked around under your feet in the batter’s box, on the mound, or in the infield.
The relationship with the baseball: The way it feels in your hand when you flip from hand to glove. The way your little hand tries new grips that you hope will turn into a wonderful curveball.
The relationship with the glove: How you mold it and fold and bend it into perfection and pound it with excitement, disbelief or anger.
The relationship with your bat: How you might tape it or spread pine tar across the handle and the way it feels in your fingertips with or without your batting gloves.
The relationship with the dugout: Only a baseball player knows that dugout and what goes on in that wonderfully dirty space that is only for you and you teammates. The dugout will tell stories. Some will be good and some will be bad but those stories stay within that space.
The relationship with your uniform: Every player wears their uniform in their own way to fit their own style of play or attitude and the freedom of that individuality is allowed in a game where everyone is wearing the same outfit.
I can go on and on about the relationships in this game. But the long and short of it is this; enjoy this beautiful game. Enjoy every aspect of it. Enjoy the lessons that it teaches you even when you don’t want to listen. Trust me: baseball, like your mom, will continue to try to teach you the lesson and eventually it will sink into your heart.
I love this game and always will because like a good friend, it was and always will be there.
Until Next time,