Winter & Baseball

An Introduction to Winter & Baseball

Bill Veeck, the guy who had fans manage a baseball game and signing 3 foot 7 in tall Eddie Gaedel to pinch-hit while wearing the number “1/8” said the line “there are only two seasons: winter and baseball” and putting aside the fact that this kind of reads like a high school student’s paper by starting with a quote, it really defines my baseball fandom quite perfectly.

Nowadays (when there’s no lockout at least also to avoid sounding like a “back in my day” ranty old person I will try to refrain from the use of the word “nowadays”, which might be tough because the entire focus of this writing is baseball history but my plan is to make it fun and not so crotchety) baseball (all the major sports really but this is about baseball, see the word is in the title and all so just sticking to baseball here) seems like a year round endeavor at this point with free agency, trades, award selections, Hall of Fame selections, pitchers and catchers reporting, winter leagues and whatever one could actually argue there’s only one season and that season is baseball.

But I still think the sentiment of what Veeck said rings true. From opening day in April (or March, which is kind of weird) to the final out in October (or November) my mood changes. Opening day feels like more of a holiday for me than Christmas or Thanksgiving and during the week coming home and turning a ball game on will always help ease my stress and tension.

When the days are short and cold is biting really hard I truly feel my depression and anxiety get worse and I know it’s probably tied to some kind of seasonal thing and never seeing the sun there’s always something in the back of my head going “I miss baseball” and while I like football, basketball, hockey, and even soccer to some extent, those sports don’t grip me, in the same way, baseball does. I think a big part of it is the season is so long it’s almost like following a good novel or binge-watching an intriguing TV series.

The length of a baseball season presents numerous opportunities for subtlety or nuance (think of a no-hitter. A no-hitter itself means nothing in the standings but it’s a gripping, dramatic event that hardly compares to other things in sports.

In other sports, you root for your team to win but in baseball, there are times when you root for your team to win a certain way.) In baseball you watch your favorite players slump, you watch even the best team go through losing stretches, and every season there are exhilarating wins and heartbreaking losses. It’s a six-month soap opera that fills my life so strongly that it feels like saying goodbye to a friend when it ends.

Because of this, I’ve decided to chase the stories from other seasons and from the games past. I want to know what it was like to experience the drama of season-long before TV and radio. Or even just the season that my dad personally experienced or the seasons expressed on sports message boards from before I was born. Every season truly has a story and I want to find and experience everything I can. I started by reading every baseball book I can find.

I’ve started working through the play by play of every World Series ever played and I’ve watched old games and old episodes of This Week in Baseball just looking to capture and express that magic I feel during a baseball season and also to capture the magic felt by other baseball fans through out time.

Ultimately my goal is to put this into a bigger project but in the midst of my research and my learning I come across different stories, I’ve obtained different thoughts and opinions about the game of baseball, I’ve attained different memories from the early days of myself watching and that’s what this website is about. For me, I’m trying to turn two seasons into just one….baseball.

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