Eric Douglas: Are you ready for some baseball?
The West Virginia Power’s website has a countdown clock, reflecting the days, hours and minutes until opening day. Hint: the first pitch of the 2017 home opener gets thrown tomorrow.
Although baseball begins in early spring and ends well into fall, there is something uniquely summer about baseball. (They’re called the boys of summer for a reason.) Summer is sitting at the ballpark, drinking from a large beverage and having a hot dog. This has been a mild winter, but I’m ready for it to be over, anyway. I’m ready for summer and everything that comes with it.
The roots of baseball are interesting. We’ve all heard the story that Abner Doubleday “invented” baseball in 1907. Of course, that story is totally false. Games similar to baseball were recorded in the 1700s, resembling the English games of cricket and rounders. The basic rules of what we know as baseball were first written down by Alexander Cartwright, a member of the New York Knickerbocker Baseball Club, in 1845, according to History.com. The game was popular among men moving to the newly industrialized cities in America for work. That makes it a working-class game if I’ve ever heard of one.
Like all professional sports, baseball has grown to massive ballparks and players with salaries in the millions of dollars. But there’s something pure about watching Single-A baseball. The players are still learning, and are prone to make mistakes, but they do it for the love of the game. Most of the players you see at this level will never make it to the show, but that doesn’t matter. They will still run onto the field when the game begins.
Single-A players play nearly as many games as their Major League counterparts, but they do it riding buses everywhere they go and no one is offering them huge shoe contracts. They make do with what they get paid, sharing apartments and accepting the hospitality of families who have them over for dinner and such. Sometimes the attendance is light, but they play anyway.
Get out and support your local team. Have a beverage and a hot dog. Enjoy a summer evening.
I’ll see you at the ballpark.
Eric Douglas, of Pinch, is the author of “Return to Cayman,” “Heart of the Maya,” “Cayman Cowboys,” “River Town” and other novels. He is also a columnist for Scuba Diving Magazine and a former Charleston Newspapers Metro staff writer. For more information, visit www.booksbyeric.com or contact him at Eric@booksbyeric.com