Let me tell you, there’s something to be said about the distinctive way Hunter Pence stands. I don’t know what it is, but there’s definitely something to be said. And speaking of Hunter Pence, I was pretty disappointed that Andrew McCutchen didn’t play because it seemed like every other outfielder did, but still, it was such a great game.
There was something odd, though, in the way that today really felt like a day for baseball. Not like a bad odd, but a brilliantly spectacular, different-in-a-good-way kind of odd. Maybe it was the way the sun shone on the outfield grass or the way smoke billowed from the BBQ stand near left field. In any case, it all seemed perfect. The only thing that wasn’t perfect though was the scoreboard. They only show you a picture of the batter, his name, and jersey number, and really that’s just not enough. I need to know position, batting average, date of birth, height, weight, the fun little facts they put up when an at-bat is particularly long, oh, and a little instant replay would be nice too.
I met a pleasant man named Gary Mason who is the luckiest of us all because he gets a military discount and watches the games for free. He’s already made it to seven different stadiums and is on track to see them all before spring training is even half over. He’s a Reds fan and yet he was there at a Giants and Rangers game. He wasn’t there supporting either team specifically, but just baseball in general.
Ideally, he’d be sitting in the stands amongst the shade somewhere, instead of on the grass, leaning up against one of the very few trees in Arizona. He’s been to a lot of places and usually chooses which team he’d rather see win based on those places. But he’ll never root for the Dodgers or the Yankees, and definitely not the Cardinals – because, honestly, nobody ever should.
One thing he mentions a lot during our conversation is history. He doesn’t think Wrigley Field or Fenway Park are particularly the most breath-taking ballparks, but they’re a part of the history of the game. He doesn’t think the rules should be played with and changed too much because the new ones don’t coincide with the history of the game. He doesn’t particularly care for using all the stats because, well, you’ve guessed it, history.
It’s not a bad concept, really. Some things should be left the way they were because there was nothing wrong with them in the first place. Yes, times change, people change, but sometimes we need something to call us back; something to help us remember the good old days of sandlots and PF Flyers and Wendy Peffercorns; something to slow us down and give us time to breathe; something to savor and enjoy the same way we did as a kid. But sometimes it’s much simpler than that. Sometimes all it takes is a Gary Mason to point it all out.