The Blues Jays are on the field again with promises that THIS team is the one and if not then that’s what they meant too.
I’m actually excited to see them play this year. They’ve got a good young squad with potential written all over them. Don’t get me wrong, I liked Vernon Wells, Lyle Overbay, John Buck, Shawn Marcum etc. but this new squad of Snider, Arencibia, Morrow, Cecil et al looks exciting. That is, as long as everything plays out as it looks on paper. For example, if Hill and Lind rebound with good years. If Arencibia and Snider produce like they should; if Morrow and Cecil can repeat their performances.
So much like last year, a bunch of ifs, and yet I get sucked in every time. I use to feel the same about the Maple Leafs but the last few years I think I’ve watched a total of 4 games, whereas, the Jays, I’ve watch every game that Rogers deems we should be allowed to watch.
And like the Jays, it’s the time of year when I used to be gearing up to play baseball… oh, alright, softball. I can almost smell the sweet spring air, the red clay of the baseball diamonds and the minty freshness of Deep-Cold rub.
But this year is different. My compatriots in the softball endeavor have informed me they are not playing this year. Oh, it’s no surprise. We’ve been slowly playing less and less ever since we folded our team, but I can’t let go.
I’ve never been an all-star type player but I have always played the game full-out and have the scars to prove it. What I lack in skill I make up for in guts. Every year I strove to improve on the last. The sad matter is, I am getting older. I don’t heal as fast anymore and it’s harder to stay in shape. I feel betrayed by my knees, my shoulder, my Achilles tendon. While they may want to sit out, my heart and my head are still in the game.
So it’s bittersweet to see spring approach. On the one hand I get to watch my favorite team play again. I get to root for John McDonald to get more playing time. I get to live vicariously through the players on TV. BUT I’ll miss the camaraderie of playing a team sport. The thrill of making a great catch or turning a double into a triple. Sliding into second, safe; being on base when Jeremy or Jeff puts the ball over the fence. Watching my brother Brad pitch and seeing ol’ Snake-eyes Duke behind the plate. Having Keith patrol first base, always smiling, and Jamie closing his eyes to make the acrobatic catch. I miss the days of the unpredictable Tribe.
Thing is, I feel I have a few more years of playing yet before my skills become a detriment to the team. I have something more to prove.
I suppose I do have accomplishments to cherish, a berth to the Nationals, a home-run (Ok, admittedly it was a ‘short porch’) but mostly is it the friendships forged on the grass and clay; in the sun and rain.
So, I’ll watch the Jays and maybe get some more fishing in, but in the back of my mind, on those sun-drenched summer days, I’ll be on the ball diamond.