Baseball Season is Back Nationally and in Wake Forest North Carolina
Play Ball! A refrain heard around the country and in Wake Forest NC every spring! Today marks a very special day for many father’s and sons around the country and even for many mom’s and daughters too… Opening Day of Major League Baseball! It’s a huge day here in the Kima house as we prepare for our Oakland A’s playing late tonight. While there was a major league game yesterday, today is the day when so many teams take the field for the first time. A true indication of spring. It marks a new beginning… the start of a wonderful journey through 162 games that meander spring, through the warm summer months and into fall. It is the bridge that carries America through the “dog days” of summer if you will. The return of baseball brings with it sweet aromas of Fenway Franks on Yawkey Way in Boston and Sausage Dogs in the Bronx or even a Dodger Dog out west. The sound of the concessions guy yelling out….”Beer Here” or “Cotton Candy!”. There is so much to love about the return of baseball. So many fond memories come racing back to this 43 year old Wake Forest resident that still loves baseball like a 10 year old. Memories that include getting to the stadium early to watch all of my favorites take batting practice. Carrying my glove to the game in hopes to catch a foul ball…more on that later… Getting to choose a souvenir from the many cool things from which to choose (loved my A’s wristbands in 1981!). Watching the poetry of the fans sitting closer to the aisle handling the money being passed to the concessions guy while passing back the hot dog, a coke and of course some mustard! Listening to the rhythm of the crowd settling into the game only to be interrupted by a crack of a bat and the loud cheers or the disgruntled season ticket holder yelling “the Bums” … his bums of course. The feeling…and you know what I’m talking about here…when you first come through the stadium openings and see the green grass for the first time…. Even sitting here now I think of how cool that is. For any younger fans reading this let me let you in on a little secret…that feeling NEVER goes away. I could go on and on about what makes baseball so special. Those of you that love the game like I do can close your eyes and hear the click clack of cleats, the sound of a snappy throw into a mitt and smell that wonderful baseball dirt. You can hear the baseball language that is truly unique to baseball. So many love to see baseball live and not on tv or listen on the radio. I love it any way I can get it. To hear Vin Scully or Tom Garigiola do a game will change your life. For my Philly fan friends I can tell you that no one said the name Mickey Morandini better than Harry Kalas! My wife grew up in PA and could less about baseball but she has fond memories of falling asleep on her grandfather’s lap listening to the sweet sounds of Kalas. Over the next several hours the Major League baseball clubs will be lining the fields, removing their caps and placing them over their hearts in preparation of singing our National Anthem! The words that follow are two of my favorite…. Play Ball!
While so many will focus on the Big Leagues I get the same thrill of watching the Tigers or the Rays play. Wait…aren’t those Major League teams? Yes, but in this case they are the names of the teams that my two little boys (7 and 11) play on at the North Wake County Baseball Association right down the road from Heritage Wake Forest! The feelings of watching them play bring me back to another time as well. Not in the same way a Major League game does above…rather in a nostalgic way that takes me right back to Orange, MA and Little League. When we were kids you were drafted onto a team at age 9 and remained there for 4 years. Your grew up with your teammates and even today we reference each other by the team you played for. Kyle played for Cetto, Chad and Scooter wore the green of Plotkins, Tommy, Kevin and Scott represented Caroll’s Market, Eric and Tim played for Elks, Dex played Orange House of Pizza and got to wear the old style Houston Astros jerseys! Myself, Roger and Dennis we played for Kiwanis just like my Dad did 25 years before me. I recall the opening day parade through the center of town led by the elementary school marching band. We would lineup along the fields in all of our uniforms, sing the national anthem and recite the Little League Pledge. The pagentry of it all is as vivid today as it was in 1982. The best part of it all at that age? The italian ice we got from Mrs. Green in the concession stand after the game! Both of my boys have a love of the game. To go to the fields and hear those sounds, the laughter, the cleats, the bats, the chants, the parents (wait, I may not mean the parents), the smell of hot dogs etc… I still love it today here in Wake Forest NC as much as I have loved it everywhere I have lived.
For those that wondered…I never did catch a foul ball at a Major League game. And thanks to my Uncle Tom in CA and my dad in New England I have been to many. I have now reached the age that if I were to catch a foul ball I would not be able to keep it. I would want to give it to one of my two boys, Cole and Camden. The magic found in a real Major League baseball is unmatched I am told. I want for my kids to look back one day and feel magic like I do! Play Ball!