My first love wasn’t a boy in school or some teen heart-throb; it was baseball. The crack of a bat. The smell of hot dogs and peanuts wafting through the air. The hot sun beating down on your skin. The roar of the crowd as the hometown hero crushes a fast ball over the batter’s eye and over the center field fence. Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane said it best, “It’s hard not to be romantic about baseball.”
When I was about seven years old, my dad first taught me how to keep score. Little did I know that 17 years later, I’d still be doing it. When my family took road trips growing up, the destination would be to a city with a ballpark which we had not yet visited. I am proud to say that I have been to 13 different ballparks in my life thus far with a few more planned for 2018. With each game I attend or new park I visit, I search the ballpark for the $2 cardboard scorecard and $1 pencil.
This helps keep me involved in the game and to pay attention to what’s going on. I can easily look up the current batter’s previous visits to the plate and see how he fared against the pitcher. Now, I know that you may be thinking “why would a you want to do this? Why the need to be such an active watcher?”
Both of my parents are to blame. During my younger years, my dad umpired baseball and softball around the state of Iowa. He grew up playing the game, going to Twins games, and he was a part of a national championship participating slow pitch softball team. Similarly, my mom who grew up with three older brothers, has many memories of attending Minnesota Twins games at the old Metropolitan stadium in Bloomington, Minnesota (the location is now home to the Mall of America). They would make the trek from their small farm town to the big city multiple times each season. With parents like mine, it was inevitable that I would love baseball.
I’ve gotten plenty of looks from fans in my row at games when they see me keeping score. Some are brave enough to comment, asking “Do you know what you’re doing?” or “Are you sure that you’re doing it right?” It’s hard not to shy away and just shake off the comments. Now that I’m older, I welcome the conversation! I’m proud to explain to curious fans as to my reasons for the ritual. Not to mention, I have an impressive collection of score cards from years and years worth of games. It’s very easy to tell that I was doing the bare minimum basics at first. But, as the years have gone by, the detail and accuracy have only improved. Knowing the inside baseball only deepens my appreciation.
Even though the first game I attended was at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, I am and will be a lifelong fan of the Minnesota Twins. I can remember my first favorite player was Twins closing pitcher Joe Nathan. He pitched for the Twins from 2004-2011, becoming the team’s all time saves leader with 260. Those were some great years to be a Twins fan, but it hasn’t always been smooth sailing. Since the 2003 season, the Twins have been to the postseason six times. Of those six appearances, the New York Yankees knocked them out of contention five times. But, coming off the 2016 season losing 103 games, the Twins made the postseason in 2017 as a Wild Card contender. Skeptics will say that last year was just a fluke, but if you are to look at the score of young stars mixed with a few solid veterans, the future is looking bright.
The months between the World Series and Opening Day feel as though they drag by. Thursday, March 29th, is Opening Day for Major League Baseball. And for the first time since the 1968 season, all 30 teams will play on the same day. If you’re lucky enough to live in a city with a professional baseball team, check them out! I may be biased, but I can guarantee that you’ll enjoy yourself. If you’re not a fan of baseball, the stadium will likely have restaurants, bars, and special things to see.
Check out our selection of MLB Diamond socks from Stance. They have become the on field brand for all of Major League Baseball this season.
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