The mystique of baseball season is upon us

Luke Henne | Editor-in-Chief | (Oct. 15, 2022) The Cleveland Guardians and New York Yankees line up during the national anthem at Progressive Field in Cleveland prior to Game 3 of the American League Division Series.

Luke Henne | Editor-in-Chief

March 30, 2023

The chilly, desolate winter is slowly moving out as warmer temperatures and sunnier days are becoming a more-common occurrence.

The transition from winter to spring is accompanied by one of the best times of the calendar year: baseball season.

For the next seven months, America’s pastime will take center stage. Fans will flock to classic stadiums like Fenway Park and Wrigley Field. The country’s summer holidays will be celebrated and commemorated by baseball. The fans of the sport’s most bleak-looking teams will still have some shred of optimism, even if only for a few weeks or a month.

Baseball is the one sport where fans of every team can get sucked in and have at least the smallest bit of hope that this year is their team’s year to win it all — Chicago Cubs fans did it for 108 years until finally winning another World Series in 2016.

There’s a handful of baseball games that I’ve attended in my life where I thought to myself, “My goodness, this sport never ceases to amaze me.”

The last game I went to in 2022 was a playoff game between the New York Yankees and Cleveland Guardians.

Cleveland trailed 5-3 going into the bottom of the ninth inning, and was in danger of being a game away from elimination with a loss.

Down 5-4 with two strikes and two outs, the Guardians’ Oscar Gonzalez laced a walkoff, two-run single into center field. I had no dog in who won the game or the series, but I found myself jumping up and down as I screamed and hugged the random strangers to my left (to my right were two Yankees fans whom I was attending the game with).

That was one of those games where, after we got back to the hotel and emotions cooled down, I thought to myself, “My goodness, this sport never ceases to amaze me.”

Baseball is the one sport where, no matter how grim the situation looks, your team still has a shot to come back and win.

There’s no clock that can halt your rally. Just a ball and a bat. Three strikes and three outs. That’s a lot to work with.

Baseball galvanizes fanbases and brings people from all walks of life together. When the country was reeling after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, it was Mike Piazza’s home run that uplifted the New York Mets and people all across the country.

Later that year, it was President George W. Bush who received a raucous applause after a successful first pitch during a World Series game between the Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks.

In 2020, baseball was the first sport to return following the Covid-19 pandemic. It brought some sense of normalcy to a world that had been stripped of its regular routines.

I’ve had the fortune of seeing countless stadiums — both in Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball — and the uniqueness and variety of stadiums, cities and atmospheres never fail to put a smile on my face.

Some of my most-surreal moments in my 22-plus years on this planet have come at baseball stadiums.

On Sept. 11, 2021, I sat at Citi Field in Queens, N.Y., sobbing as victims of the 2001 attacks were honored prior to a game between the Mets and Yankees.

On Oct. 1, 2013, I had endless chills as I sat with my brother and parents at PNC Park, watching the Pittsburgh Pirates win their first postseason game since 1992.

That was the first meaningful Pirates victory of my lifetime, but it also exercised demons in my parents’ relationship — they started dating in 1992, shortly before Pittsburgh’s gut-wrenching postseason elimination at the hands of the Atlanta Braves.

You don’t always realize it in the moment (sometimes you do), but these memories are ones that are, quite often, larger than life.

I attended my first baseball game the day after I turned 2 years old, and I’ve never looked back.

Baseball is a lifeblood to me. It is, at its core, who I am. I’m what they call, in the industry, a “for lifer.” This is the sport that I’ve dedicated my life to, so if my excitement seems irrational, just remember how baseball has changed my life.

The MLB’s season commences Thursday, while the minor league campaign will kick off a day later.

As someone set to graduate from college in just about a month, I often get asked what I want to do or where I want to be when I graduate. While I might not yet know the specific route I’d like to take, I have settled on where I want my office to be for the rest of my life — the baseball stadium.

I’ll be glued to my television all day on Thursday, watching as handfuls of teams line up along the first and third base lines, national anthems are sung and flyovers are completed.

The nostalgia that comes with the start of any baseball season is unmatched by a lot of feelings as a sports fan.

For your favorite team, it might be the start of an unexpected ride you never saw coming. Or, you could be set up for unimaginable disappointment. Baseball can pull at your heartstrings more than you know.

To find out your team’s fate, you’ll just have to embrace the unique ride.