Friday, August 05, 2005

« 102 reasons to love baseball »

By Suss
Reading so much negativity toward baseball makes me sick. Do these people seriously understand baseball?

Fellow Blogcritic author Sal Marinello opts to cover the negative side of the game. He is skilled at writing destructively about the game, ripping to shreds Barry Bonds, Curt Schilling, the All-Star Game, Sammy Sosa and most recently Rafael Palmeiro. And often he chooses to make Jose Canseco's book "Juiced" as his Amazon.com link.

The baseball writers I respect do not write so venomously towards the game the cover. They witness it. They interview it. And they, too, can be critical of it. But never do they let go of the undying spirit of the game.

Anyone who cares about the sport wouldn't just talk about black eyes in the game like Kenny Rogers' cameraman incident or Barry Bonds' grand jury testimony. They would obviously mention them and how their mistakes don't reflect the sport's nature, but would turn around and talk about how their favorite team needs bullpen help.

There are so many reasons to love the game that rarely make headlines. But they're always there when you need them the most.

Here are 102 such reasons to love baseball. On any day of the week, each item trumps anything bad about the sport. The list isn't ranked, nor is it comprehensive. But I could go to 1,000 if given enough time, so just be glad I stopped here.
  1. The double switch
  2. Chone Figgins playing second, third or center
  3. Rick Ankiel trying to come back as an outfielder
  4. The suicide squeeze
  5. Pudge Rodriguez's snap throw to first base
  6. Craig Counsell's batting stance
  7. Stealing signals
  8. Pitching inside
  9. An ump's own way of calling balls and strikes
  10. Still calling U.S. Cellular Field "Comiskey Park"
  11. Drunks trying to start the wave in the 8th inning
  12. Diving catches
  13. Hitting a home run out of SBC Park and into the bay
  14. Jon Miller's play-by-play
  15. Third base coaches
  16. Unassisted triple plays
  17. Players to be named later
  18. The train tracks outside Safeco Field
  19. Nolan Ryan putting Robin Ventura in a headlock
  20. The drum that beats while the Indians are at bat
  21. Hideo Nomo's statuesque windup
  22. The two kids running out to congratulate Hank breaking Babe's record
  23. Joe Carter's World Series winning home run
  24. Overpriced ballpark franks
  25. Nomar Garciaparra's obsessive-compulsive ritual at bat
  26. The Dodgers' home blue jerseys
  27. The fake-throw-to-third-then-to-first
  28. Derek Jeter throwing to first in the air against his body
  29. Home plate collisions
  30. Lou Piniella arguing with umpires
  31. The pool at Bank One Ballpark
  32. "Baseball Tonight"
  33. Moneyball
  34. George Brett flipping out after being ejected for pine tar
  35. Ichiro's infield singles
  36. Not updating your fantasy baseball team in weeks ... and still winning
  37. The Tiger's old English 'D'
  38. Adjusted OPS ratings
  39. Pitchers rounding the bases in warmup jackets
  40. Mariano Rivera's cutter
  41. Hitting a ball the other way ... on an infield shift
  42. Stealing third
  43. Personalized at-bat music
  44. Knowing an obscure stat, like the first person to hit a home run from both sides of the plate in the same inning (answer below)
  45. Carlton Fisk hand-signaling his home run off the pole
  46. Pitchers hitting home runs
  47. Hitting the catwalk in Tropicana Field
  48. Jack Buck's post-9/11 speech
  49. Legging out a triple
  50. Outfield assists
  51. Randy Johnson throwing above John Kruk in the All Star game
  52. Fans heckling ballboys for foul balls
  53. Watching the ground crew roll out the tarp
  54. Fielding a weak grounder bare-handed
  55. Lenny Harris making a career out of pinch-hitting
  56. Catching a flyball temporarily lost in the sun
  57. Gary Sheffield's bat waggle
  58. Players who never wash their batting helmets
  59. The 12-to-6 curveball
  60. Wrigley Field's ivy
  61. Getting a hit after an intentional walk
  62. Hall of Fame debates that never end
  63. Watching "This Week in Baseball" during a rain delay
  64. Sean Casey's personality
  65. Trades that, looking back, were highway robbery (Luis Gonzalez for Karim Garcia)
  66. Steinbrenner's "team meetings"
  67. Andruw Jones gracefully running down a fly ball
  68. Curtain calls
  69. Three players converging on a pop-up, nobody catching it
  70. Jeff Bagwell's bat windup
  71. Beer vendors
  72. The home crowd always booing a close call against their team
  73. Getting offense from your 9-hitter (AL)
  74. A batter fooled by a changeup
  75. Pedro Martinez throwing Don Zimmer to the ground
  76. Fenway Park's manual scoreboard
  77. Small market teams beating large market teams
  78. Scoring all the way from first base
  79. A pitcher getting out of a bases-loaded inning unharmed
  80. Johnny Damon's hair
  81. Batting around in an inning
  82. The umpire dusting off home plate
  83. Kirk Gibson's home run trot in the 1988 World Series
  84. Ernie Harwell's "Long Gone!" home run call
  85. Dugout clearing brawls
  86. Tony Gwynn's voice
  87. The Metrodome's right field baggie wall
  88. Sliding underneath the tag
  89. Leo Mazzone rocking back and forth
  90. Keeping the box score by hand
  91. Taking your hot fiancee to a game
  92. Wild card chases
  93. Explaining to someone the infield fly rule
  94. The knuckleball
  95. Keeping track of Ripken's Ironman record on the warehouse
  96. 5-4-3 double plays
  97. "Free baseball" (extra innings)
  98. Knowing the answer to the AFLAC Trivia Question right away
  99. Mr. Met
  100. Looking at who the Expos used to have
  101. 480 ft. power alleys
  102. The hold stat
(The answer to No. 43 is Carlos Baerga.)

The game brings us many moments of joy, angst and humor. Every day, players overcome adversity, numbers are crunched and a city comes together to unite and cheer for a common goal.

What do you love about the game?

2 Comments:

Blogger rfetesrfg said...

My favorite part of the game is the mildly overweight and majorly ADHD 13-year-old dancing like an attention whore just out of social isolation, hoping and praying the cameras see her.

Oh wait. I hate that part of the game. Damnit, now I have to think some more.

August 06, 2005 10:00 AM  

Anonymous Uncle Mike said...

How about Manny at the plate,with bases loaded,at Fenway? What? What? I can't hear you! Red Sox Nation,on their feet!! Wow.....

August 08, 2005 3:38 AM  

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