The best part of the MLB season is here, otherwise known as spring training.
It’s a time of pure baseball. No politics or petty fighting. The players are not in it for the money.
The inexperienced athletes are fighting for roster spots. They focus on the small aspects often overlooked in everyday ball — hustling to first base on every ground ball, exerting their body for each pop fly.
These players just want to play.
I still remember the first spring training game I attended. The Diamondbacks were playing the Cubs. I remember one play — meaningless in the game, meaningless in the season, but it stood out nonetheless.
Lyle Overbay was playing first base for the Diamondbacks. The pitcher attempted a pickoff, and Overbay made a nice play on the runner.
The runner was called safe (being a knowledgeable 6-year-old, I disagreed with the call), but the play stuck in my head.
The closest thing to a pick-off I had seen, Overbay’s name remained with me. When he became an everyday player in the majors, I was psyched.
This, to me, is what spring training symbolizes. A young man pushing himself a little further than athletes fearing injuries do. Young fans enjoying inexpensive seats to watch tomorrow’s stars compete.
If you don’t like baseball, attend a spring training game. Only Arizona and Florida offer this luxury, and your opinion of America’s pastime will change.
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