16 February 2004

How long til spring? part 1

Aside from my family, the only other thing I can say has been a constant presence in my life is baseball.  I love it.  I started watching it when I was four.  Our grandmother was living with us then, and she would watch every single game.  She would sit in her yellow easy chair in her bedroom with her small black and white television on a table about ten feet away.  She used an earpiece to hear the play by play better, and I can remember watching just the images of the game, without sound.  This was in the early seventies, when the Cubs played all of their home ganes during the day, and the White Sox were not telecast on a channel that we could receive in our house.  Through the grace Grace (grandma's name) and WGN, I became a die hard Cubs fan.

I used to play whiffle ball in the backyard by myself.  I used to invent baseball games I could play indoors in the winter time.  I'd use a toy light saber from "Star Wars" for a bat and a nerf ball for a baseball.  Anything hit over the cornice above the windows was a home run.  I could name the entire 25 man roster of every team in the national league.  I'd beg my father to buy me the season preview books every spring and read the thousand pages of info in a few days.  I used to run four blocks home from school when it ended at 3:20 in the hopes that I could see the last inning or so.


I am trying to remember when I realized that baseball was not a game anymore, that it was a business.  Big business.  I remember that Nolan Ryan was the first player to ever sign a million dollar contract.  I remember when Ryne Sandberg became the highest paid player in the game.  I think that lasted a week before someone else signed a higher contract.  I remember when lights were put into Wrigley Field so that the Cubs would be better able to contend.  That was in 1988, and there was still no mention of finances, so I think then I was still naive enough to think baseball as just a game.

I remember the Cubs made the playoffs again in 1989.  They lost to San Francisco in the league championship series, and the powers that be responded with an earthquake.  And it was still a game. 

see part 2


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