Baseball is this nation’s pastime. From the smell of fresh-cut grass, to the insane amount of sunscreen streaks on your forehead, to the sound of the hot dog vendor reminding you where you can find your game day snack. This game creates lasting memories, leaving you dreading the eventual end to the season. This game goes much deeper than a bat and ball.
¡Lanza la pelota!
Those were the three words I would, continuously, scream running through my grandparents’ house after dinner. Why? Well, I knew that I was that much closer to settling on my Great-Grandfather’s lap to watch rookie sensation Miguel Cabrera and the Florida Marlins take on their next opponent en-route to winning the 2003 World Series.
As we approached first pitch, we would grab our snacks, turn on the AM/FM radio behind us to Felo Ramirez on the Spanish broadcast, and begin rocking back and forth on that mid-80s rocking chair that had the patented squeak you just couldn’t get rid off no matter how much WD-40 you sprayed. It was in moments like these that I developed the understanding of the word “Love.” To me, moments like these were what it was all about. It’s what helped me develop—not only my understanding of the game—but the relationship between the two of us. We would loudly cheer the victories, and he would let me cry on his shoulder when they came up just short. Before his passing, I made him a promise that baseball would be my future.
As it stands right now, we’re in the middle of a lockout with no clear end in sight.
At the young age of 18, I embarked on my journey as a professional in the baseball industry. The promise I made was well underway and I was full steam ahead. It was never about me. It was about paying my Abuelo back for all that he had done for me.
The ongoing situation between Major League Baseball and the Players Association has put a damper on the lives of many. It’s not JUST a game. It serves as an escape from the monotony of the everyday world. Giving us three hours of pure entertainment, allowing us the ability to dip into all of the memories that it has provided us with. It is a shame what this lockout is doing to baseball fans all over the country. We all just want to get in our cars, drive to the ballpark, grab a bag of Cracker Jacks, and create memories with family and friends.
The game itself has so much more meaning beyond the “wins” or “loses” that each casual fan pays attention to. When I watch a game, I refer back to moments in my life.
When a hitter is stepping up to the plate, or a pitcher is walking out to the mound, I think back to times in my life when I had no idea what was going to happen, but knew I was acting with purpose. If the end result was positive, I think of times I achieved my goals. When the outcome was not what the player had envisioned, I think back to all the times that I was knocked down. Either way, it panned out—there was always going to be another opportunity. Another opportunity to build on the success, or remind myself not to give up because there’s going to be another chance to come up to the plate and reach my goals.
When things seem lost, I think back to the summer days in my backyard where my dad would crouch down in catcher’s position, with no equipment but a glove, and allow for me to do my best Josh Beckett impersonation. The bravery that he portrayed was admirable. Memories like this only solidify the meaning of true love for something that many see as a sport.
I was never the best player on the field. That did not stop me from giving it my all every time I took the field with my family’s name on the back of my shirt.
So, what does baseball mean to me? It means memories. Memories of my Great-Grandfather. Memories of my own personal catcher in my backyard. Memories of all the wonderful opportunities life presents you.
I am sure that I can speak for many when I say: End this lockout. Give us the opportunity to revert back to the good ol’ days and think back to all of these positive memories it has provided us with as we have grown up. Baseball is a beautiful concept. In times like these, we cannot lose hope. We cannot allow for a shutdown to leave a sour taste in our mouths. Especially when it has created all of the positivity that it has. Baseball truly is life and I will not allow for the current situation to let me forget that.
Abuelo, thank you for teaching me how to love.