Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Why I love baseball


I didn't always love baseball. In fact, I hated it growing up. Colorado didn't have a major league team at the time, but they would still show a lot of games on TV. (Knowing now that Denver was host to a farm team for the Chicago Cubs, I assume they were Cubs' games.) This annoyed me, because it interfered with other TV shows that I wanted to watch. "What? Baseball is on again?!?" Eventually, I grew to not hate it, and even went to a game or two.

When my family moved to California just before my junior year of high school, my younger brothers had opportunity to play on local kids' league teams; specifically the Babe Ruth/Cal Ripken League. Watching them play, I started to understand the game and I realized that it was actually a lot of fun to go to the games and I loved cheering them on. The following Spring, Colorado finally got a MLB team, the Colorado Rockies. Being from there, there was an automatic thread of loyalty, though not really much fanaticism. 

Fast forward a few years and I am married, mother of two children, and struggling with a rather severe postpartum depression. My pregnancy with Tommy was not an easy one and after I was induced early, I ended up back in the hospital because the pre-eclampsia did not clear up as it should have. We had just moved, I had no local friends that were "my" friends, only "the guys" that Mike grew up with. (Don't get me wrong, "the guys" are all very dear to me now, but not having any local girl friends was a difficult thing to deal with.) I wasn't working that year, so I didn't even have papers to grade to keep me busy.

What was there to do at night, since my husband left for work in the evenings?  I decided to watch baseball. Since Mike and his family had always been Giants' fans, I had already been exposed to local baseball, and since it was on nearly every day, it gave me something to look forward to nearly every day. Not much later, I met Dawn, who lived across the condo courtyard from us. She was also a baseball fan, and we often watched the games either together in person or while on the phone. Two voids in my life were suddenly filled: I had something non-motherhood-related to be passionate about and I had a friend who became like a sister to me. Both of these things became vital to my mental health, and both are still cherished by me. 

A little over eight years ago, Dawn passed away very unexpectedly. She gave me strength while she lived and I am sure she still watches over me, for if I had lost someone so dear to me while still in the state I had been in before we met, I don't know that I would have pulled through; at least not very well.  I have made my own girlfriends since that dark time nearly 14 years ago, but none will ever be able to fill her shoes.

What I still have, though, is baseball. I consider the Giants to be my friends, though they don't know me as an individual. Kruk and Kuip are, in my opinion, the best baseball commentators around. They make watching the game on TV so much fun that I sorely miss them on the rare occasions that I get to go to AT&T Park to watch a game. Jon Miller and Dave Flemming are just as fabulous via the radio broadcast. I can't forget JT Snow, who sometimes fills in for the others. He was my first baseball crush. In October 2010, I stated that I wanted a Giants World Series Champions t-shirt for my birthday the following month. The team obligingly made that possible. Many called their win a fluke, but I don't care if it was. It made me happy. 

Lately, I have had to get creative in order to watch or listen to the games. For some reason, we no longer have any AM radio reception at our house, and we decided to cut our cable in order to save a little money each month. We tried ordering a MLB package via the internet, but our local teams are not available. Still, however we work it out, even if it is just watching the game updates on internet, following the Giants is a passion that I have no intention of letting go. They helped me heal, and are therefore a part of me. 

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