From Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, one thing is clear—we need the pace of baseball back in our lives. The preheated exhibition season for the Colorado Rockies brings back the familiarity of a game that is all about taking things one day at a time.
Since baseball ended with the Chicago Cubs World Series victory, the country has been in a constant panic, from all sides because of the political climate. The 24-hour news cycle is now giving stories only 15 minutes before moving on. Weekend breaks from the news are a thing of the past. Twitter is a land mine field of partisan bickering, as the Internet has focused on one single political figure.
Now take a step back—baseball is almost here.
The nature of baseball gives us something else to pay attention to every day. On freshly mowed grass, 30 teams compete all summer. Each half inning resets as a clean slate. At the end of the day, the whole spectacle takes place within fixed dimensions. It’s the creativity and unpredictability within a field of play—without the chaos of football, basketball and hockey.
Baseball evolved out of box scores. It’s a game designed to be translatable without being seen—rather perfect for the modern age of attention spans. For the most part, fans know what a double looks like without sitting in the stands. They can picture a slide into home as the play-by-play announcer gives the call on the radio. As fans, we get to play the game in our minds more than we can with any other sport.
While MLB’s commissioner’s office struggles with pace of play rules and ways to lure young people in, I think they’re missing the point. Baseball is about giving fans a day at the park. It allows time to teach new fans about the game’s history as you tell stories in between pitches.
Explain the nuances of a curveball in Coors Field as the operatic beer man, Howard, calls out from behind home plate at Coors Field, “ICEEEEEED COLD BEER.”
You can’t watch baseball like you can other sports. It takes a focused passivity. It takes self-assurance that even if you miss the next home run, there will be many more that summer.
KOA’s Rockies announcer Jack Corrigan says that he sees something new every time he calls a game. However, the new things very rarely result in a scandal, a twitter rant or an argument that ends friendships. In recent years, it’s been a catch in the grandstand by Nolan Arenado.
It’s been a cycle (single, double, triple and home run in one game) produced by Carlos Gonzalez that ended with a home run. And now, it’s the smooth pitches of Jon Gray as he tries to become the best pitcher in Rockies franchise history.
It’s almost summer again. In this tornado of national political animosity, seek shelter from the storm at your nearest baseball diamond. It’s the treatment we all need right now. Even if the Rockies’ spring hope falls flat in early May—at least we’ll have something else to focus on.
The politics of this country will remain. The era that we live in will endure. So will Take me out to the Ballgame and misconceptions about Coors Field. I’m glad we have the latter to allow us to take a breath and wait with anticipation for the next pitch.