ChildhoodBaseballPassion

On Sunday, October 14, 1984, my 7-year-old self sat Indian style on the floor in the living room of our modest, happy, fun, family home with my pillow and blanket just feet from the television. I wasn’t riveted to the TV for the newest cartoon though. Care Bears, My Little Pony and Barbie would never even be in competition to hold my attention.  I didn’t realize it at the time but this would mark the beginning of my passion for the game of baseball.

It was early afternoon and the Detroit Tigers were in game 5 of the Major League Baseball World Series versus the San Diego Padres. I don’t remember everything about the game but I do recall much of the major plays from the Tiger’s first World Series victory since the unforgettable 1968 team. I vividly remember those last moments, specifically the last couple of innings.

I mean who can possibly forget Kirk Gibson up to bat against Goose Gossage in the bottom of the 8th inning with 1 out, the Tigers leading 5 to 4? Tiger’s manager, Sparky Anderson, mouthing from the dugout, “he don’t want to walk you.” Gibby was already 2 for 3 with a homer, a walk and a single in the dramatic game so Goose convincingly argued with manager, Dick Williams, to not intentionally walk him.  Gossage believed he had Gibson figured out this time, he could beat him like he had since his rookie year with the Tigers. Gibson’s very first fastball in the major leagues came to him courtesy of Goose and Gibby would be retired many times from the batter’s box by him after that initial face off. This time though, the first pitch was a ball and the 2nd pitch would end up in the right field seats in the upper deck.

Now I didn’t know the history between these two phenomenal baseball players when I was a young girl watching this game so intently but this moment sparked a passion within me. Since this moment, I would read, study, play Little League and high school softball, attend Tiger games, play neighborhood home run derby, watch any MLB games on TV, analyze this game with the best of them, participate in fantasy baseball leagues, sketch and paint baseball art-all amazing memories for which I am eternally grateful.

That being shared, what I hold most dear is the connection baseball has given to me with those I love. Even if a family or friendship was difficult, we could always relate to baseball together. And on the other side of that it somehow strengthen the relationships I have presently with family and friends. This passion unites people and tends to bond you in ways I cannot describe.

Yes, I love my Detroit Tigers. However my love affair with baseball began in my early childhood sparked and cultivated by family. Forever grateful.

Let No One Steal Your Joy, Shout it From the Bleachers!

***Composed Friday evening, 1/26/13***

Snow in the D!  I am sitting in the hotel room as I compose this post just a block away from Comerica ParkTiger’s Fanfest 2013 will be in full swing tomorrow just across the street! We only live an hour away but for the sake of not having to rush, we thought to make it a little more of a trip 🙂  I honestly don’t know how I’m going to sleep! The excitement within me is already at a dangerous level…well dangerous in regards to  foreseeing sleep deprivation for me tomorrow.

Ya’ll know by now how much I love the game of baseball.  It’s a simple sport yet has a complexity to it as well that only a true fan of the game can appreciate.  What makes us love it so much?  I’m not certain I know how to translate it into a type written form. But as I stand in the on deck circle and now up to the plate, I’ll give it a try.

How do you explain why seeing past television footage of moments in baseball’s history can bring you to tears?  My team is obviously the TIgers and every time I watch certain clips, the tears fall, but they are happy tears from the passion I have. Even commercials will emotionally move me.  No shame!  I love the fact that I can feel so deeply about baseball, about Tiger’s baseball. 

When anything in this cruel, hard world invokes your emotions, ignites your passion, gets under your skin…hang onto it!  Life it tough, stressful and the people in it can be not-so-loving.  Tears of joy are a blessing to be able to shed, so shed em!  I have witnessed too many people in my life and heard too many stories of people that have for some reason hardened themselves to…I don’t know…to feeling? To being able to feel?

You know what I’m talking about here or what? We allow the blah of life to steal our joy.  Crack a dang smile when you hear a young child giggle!  Shout hallelujah when the preacher reveals one of God’s truth to your heart you hadn’t pondered before!  Jump off the couch when your team has just drove in the tying run in the bottom of the 9th inning! Now are you smelling what I’m stepping in?  I joke, yes, because I love humor, it’s good for the soul…but I am also being serious people.  Unleash the passion you have inside and use it for good.  Do you know how contagious it can be?

I believe it stems from love.  Whatever or whomever you love creates a passion inside you.  Great.  LET IT OUT! If ya ain’t vocal, that’s alright, let the gal or guy you love know in a note, tell them how special they are, be gushy once in awhile, it won’t hurt.  Your loved ones need to know they mean something to you.  If you’re anything like me, then you want your loved ones to show you how they feel.

Anyways, show some love.  Whether it be to someone or about something you enjoy.  Like so many baseball fans I have seen hold at games, make a sign and share your joy!

I gotta get to bed now so I can hopefully fall asleep soon.

 

Love to all the baseball fans out there-and even to those of you that aren’t 🙂

Play ball!