By John Hubbuch
Baseball used to be my favorite sport. Growing up I wanted to eventually replace Eddie Mathews as the third baseman for the Milwaukee Braves, but alas I couldn't hit the ball out of a Babe Ruth League infield. My grandfather knew Pie Traynor. I collected baseball cards the old fashion way---a nickle pack at a time (" I'll trade you seven Carol Hardy's for one Mickey Mantle.") All three of my boys played, but they gravitated toward soccer and basketball.
My disenchantment was gradual. The baseball strike, steroids, the expansion of teams and divisions, the ridiculous salaries, the mobility of the players and the interminable length of the games gradually eroded my interest in the game. At the end I was reduced to following Greg Maddox---by far my favorite player. And then he retired. My boys don't watch it. My friends don't either. It almost makes me mad when some commentator tells me how special baseball is to America. It makes me laugh. America's sport is football, not baseball. Baseball feels like an activity for the 1920's along with bowling, boxing and horse racing.
And yet every spring my thoughts turn to baseball. I remember the nuns letting us listen to Mazerowski's 3 run homer that beat the Yankees in 1960. I remember Lou Burdette beating the Yankees 3 times to help win the 1957 World Series. Ted Williams hitting .388. And my grandfather seeing me somehow hit a homerun in a July 4th All Star City-County game.
But it's all kind of sad in a melting snowman kind of way. Something I used to love. Gone. Forever.