Since I wrote a column when the Texas Rangers’ season ended back in October, I feel like it’s only right for me to write another column graciously welcoming the return of baseball after four long, cold months without it – as Roger Hornsby said, “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.”
I could talk about baseball forever, I really could. Get me started on the Cubs, or Rougned Odor’s glorious punch (you know the one), or Mariano Rivera’s status as the best player the sport has ever seen and I won’t stop. But while the record-setting players and legendary games definitely make the sport so interesting, that’s not why I love it. Okay, well, that’s part of why I love it – because watching the Rangers play is like watching art, maybe not-so-pretty art at times, but still art nonetheless – but the beauty that baseball offers stretches far beyond the players on the diamond.
Back in November, I watched the World Series to the end even though my favorite team wasn’t playing, because I am still a baseball fan and a Game 7 is still a Game 7. But it’s also more than that. The Cubs did more than just merely win – I mean, they also broke a 70-year-old curse, but I digress – they managed to bring millions of people together in spite of differences. Democrats and Republicans, women and men, rich and poor, Christians and atheists, blacks and whites and everyone in between forgot their differences, for one night at least, to celebrate one thing they have in common: love for a baseball team.
So to those who wonder why baseball matters: it offers a diverse community of people who are both so much like you and also not like you at all. It offers a place to belong. Every time I watch baseball, I am reminded of the beauty and unity the sport unrelentingly offers to everyone.
So welcome back, springtime and sunshine and baseball and everything good. It’s nice to see you again.