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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

Baseball -- even without Spring!
by Hal Vickery

While sitting in the house waiting out an ice storm, itís hard to imagine that the first pitch of spring training will be thrown a little after noon this coming Wednesday. After the recent spate of sub-zero weather, heavy snow, and now ice that weíve had for the past three or four weeks, itís even harder to believe that the first pitch of the season will be in just five weeks.

Iím sure that very few of you who have been scraping ice off your cars or shoveling your driveways are thinking about baseball, but itís almost here. In just a few weeks many of us will be sitting in the stands at the cell huddling under blankets, trying to keep warn.

To a fan baseball is one of those things that helps provide a rhythm to oneís life. It also provides continuity to our lives.

As the year begins, we canít wait until the end of January for SoxFest. Those who are lucky enough to attend relish in the ability to mingle with the players and management. Those who canít attend eagerly await the reports from the local media or from those who send their daily reports to the WSI message boards. We know when SoxFest is here, spring training will soon follow.

And of course it does follow in just a couple of weeks. Pitchers and catchers report in mid-February, more of a sign of the spring to come than the report of some rodent in Pennsylvania seeing or not seeing his shadow. A few days later the rest of the squad reports, and in just a matter of days, they actually start playing exhibition games.

If we canít make it to spring training, we eagerly await the radio broadcasts from Arizona, and busily check TV schedules to find those days when we can catch our first glimpse of this yearís team. After a month of that, though, you get tired of such things. The weather is improving. Itís getting warmer outside. You ache for that first pitch thrown in anger.

And sure enough as April begins, so do those early games. If you purchased tickets for them, you know youíre going to spend a lot of time huddled under a blanket or covered with a poncho or umbrella (if youíre not hiding out in the shelter of the concourse). Still itís baseball. Itís spring. Thatís just how it is.

And spring eventually turns into summer, and you look back at those games where you froze as during July and especially during the dog days of August, you sweat and dread making contact with the sweaty arm of the person sitting next to you. The ballpark drink of choice has turned from coffee or hot chocolate to something cold.

But then the days grow short. The season comes to an end. Maybe, just maybe, your team has made it to the post season, but even if they havenít, you have a special interest in the playoffs and World Series. You might have money riding on it. There might be a team youíd love to see win. There might be a team you might want to see utterly destroyed in the post-season, but there is always some reason to be involved.

Still, even that comes to an end, but in November MLB has seen fit to announce all of the award winners from the previous season. You can take the occasion to agree or to argue how somebody else was far more deserving of the Comeback Player of the Year award.

December brings the Winter Meetings where fans can take the opportunity to complain that their GM failed to make an important deal or to gloat about the coup he pulled. After that weíre all pre-occupied with the holidays, and then the cycle begins once again.

Thatís baseball, and in a way, thatís life. Whether we are baseball fans or not, our lives all seem to follow some kind of cycle, even if itís just the passing of the seasons.

But Iím so glad Iím a baseball fan because that makes the seasons passing by so much more interesting.

______________________________________________________________________

Editor's Note: Hal Vickery has been a White Sox fan since 1955 when he was five years old. For much of that time he also had a secondary rooting interest in the Cubs, which he has shown the good sense to abandon. When not cheering for or writing about the Sox, Hal teachers chemistry and physics at North Boone High School, in Poplar Grove, IL. Hal commutes there daily from Joliet, where he lives with his wife Lee, and their dog, Buster T. Beagle. Hal's opinions are not necessarily those of North Boone High School, his wife, or Buster T. Beagle. You can write Hal at hvickery@svs.com.

More features from Hal Vickery here!

Have a Thought about
Baseball -- Even without Spring?

You Can Put it on the Board -- Yes!



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