Diamond Diaries

Cardinal baseball, from the girls

Tag Archives: offseason

I Miss Baseball

I was chatting with a friend the other day, and they mentioned something about still feeling like they could hear Jack Buck talking sometimes. It made me think back to a paper I wrote a few years ago. I had to go dig it out of the black hole otherwise known as my storage closet, but it made me smile when I did track it down. I’m missing baseball terribly these days, and I know many of you are too. I have two little stories from my past that I’m going to toss up here over the next few days. Hopefully you’ll enjoy this first little tale, known simply as “Carried Away”…

It’s time! It’s time! I bolted into the room and jumped on the couch, grabbing the remote to the radio and turning it on all in one motion. The smooth, even voice of Jack Buck floated into my room, filling the air with the sound of thousands of fans filing into their seats. I settled down on the couch, pulling a blanket up over my lap and holding the remote tightly in my hand, as if it was my lifeline to this new world I was hearing through the speakers.

“Good afternoon and welcome to a new season! It’s been a long winter, but spring is here and so are we! We’re glad you could join us on this bright, sunny April afternoon!” Suddenly I felt as if I was carried 300 miles away, and I was at the game myself. I walked smoothly out of the metro car, and could hear the sounds of the stadium from the station. As I joined the throng that was heading for the front gates, I breathed in the smell of peanuts and popcorn wafting towards me. I handed my ticket to the worker at the turnstiles and began the ascent to my seat.

As I worked my way up through the ballpark, I tried peeking in through the walkways to see if I could catch a glimpse of the field. When I reached the upper level and walked through the concrete passage into the seating area, my eyes and ears were filled with the sight and smell of the freshly cut green grass, groomed to perfection. The white of the home team’s jerseys stood in stark contrast to the green of the grass. The players moved across the field, stretching and warming up, preparing for the game’s imminent start.

I reached my seat and sat down in the cool red plastic, ready to shout and yell and cheer for my team. The first pitch was delivered, and the pop of the ball hitting the glove resounded in my ears. The crowd roared in approval as the ump yelled, “Strike one!” and the game had begun. It was then that I noticed the vendors beginning their parade around the park. The cries of, “Lemonade, lemonade, lemonade!” and “Peanuts! Get your peanuts!” were heard over the constant buzz of the fans in the stands. I raised my arm and ordered up a pretzel, and after taking a bite of the salty treat, decided that a water bottle might help as well. After flagging down another sweaty vendor and quenching my thirst, I turned my focus back to the game.

The game progressed, and the rise and fall of the wave showed the enthusiasm of the crowd around me. I watched in wonder as I saw a player leap up against the wall, catching the ball and saving a crushing blow to the pitcher’s ego, as well as a couple of runs on the scoreboard. As the stands erupted with appreciation for the feat, I realized that I had leaped from my seat myself, caught up in the awe of the moment.

We reached the middle of the seventh, and I stood with 40,000 of my newest friends to join in singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” As every man, woman, child, and mascot stood, stretched their limbs, and raised their voices to the heavens, joining in with the chords of the organ, I felt like I was hanging out with family instead of complete strangers. I looked around at the people surrounding me, clad in their bright red clothing. Their faces were cheery with the laughter and smiles indicative of of the fans watching a winning ballclub.

At the end of the game as we all moved toward the exit, I felt the thrill of victory after an exciting game. I floated on air as I made my way back to the metro station and waited for the train to make its way toward us. I climbed aboard just before the door closed, and joined in with the happy chatter of the other red-clad fans, talking about the exciting win.

It was then that I heard a new, familiar yet out of place voice coming back into my ears. It was the sound of my old friend, Mike Shannon, thanking me for tuning in and signing off for the night. It was then that I realized I was back in my room, on my couch. I looked around and saw the blanket I had thrown off in a moment of excitement in the game. Next to it sat the remote which I had thrown down in a fit of frustration, ejecting the batteries in the process. I put it back together and turned off the radio. Tomorrow would be another game, and another opportunity to be carried away.


Is it spring yet?

My Hot Stove Wishlist

Last season I was introduced to the concept of baseball’s Hot Stove. Baseball talk all winter?  Yes, please!  😉
So, I spent my first winter cozied up to that stove longing for any and every bit of news about Matt Holliday. Would he return?  Would Mr. Boras, his evil agent, force him to wear pinstripes instead?  Well, I got my Holliday wish last year and decided that offseason baseball dealings were not only very entertaining, but could make me very happy.
Happy is good.
This offseason has not started off with such warm fuzzies.  Joe Mather, gone.  Matt Pagnozzi, gone.  Personally, I’ll take a nice campfire and a warm Cardinals snuggie instead, thank you.
Maybe that’s what I get for not respecting the Stove?  Maybe I took it for granted that the Cardinals would always make decisions in my best interest?  I guess I still have a lot to learn about baseball.  (thankfully)
So, just in case, the Hot Stove is like Santa and needs a little help in knowing just the right gifts this winter…
My Hot Stove WishList
1.      Save our Shortstop. Yep, I know there is a different player’s contract topping everyone else’s wishlist. But since you all have that one covered, I am going to make sure ol’ Boog doesn’t get forgotten.
Brendan Ryan is irreplaceable.  The fans love him. Brendan’s attitude and personality bring the Cardinals to life and brighten team energy.  Brendan’s got the D.  Plus I have a serious need to be able to watch him leap and jump and dive and be the ballhog that he is in order to fully appreciate Cardinals baseball.  Brendan will be a better hitter than he was last year.  I promise.  Surgery and fiddling with his batting stance messed him up.  With another year of experience, maturity combined with the right ADD meds, we are bound to see a better batter.
Trust me on this.  Brendan stays.  Got it?  Good.
2.      Now, I am no expert on salary figures and balancing budgets, so I am going to head over to my happy place and pretend that I can wish for absolutely anything here.
Two free agents the Cardinals must snag?  Cliff Lee and Mariano Rivera.
Don’t burst my bubble here… I’m dreaming of a 2011 rotation with Wainwright, Lee, Garcia and Carpenter for a moment.  It’s glorious.
      You can see it too, right?  Yeah, I thought so.  😉
3.      As long as I am not being restrained by common sense, I’ll take Ryan Ludwick back too please.  Power outfield bat?  Restored.  Luddy back in the Birds on the Bat?  Priceless.
4.      Now this is where I need a little help because I’ve read all sorts of chatter about Orlando Hudson, Dan Uggla, Edgar Renteria and other guys who might be able to step in and give us some relief in the middle infield (hands off the shortstop position though, remember?!)
This is where I sit back, let the ol’ stove heat up and listen and learn as all you smart baseball folk tell me why one ballplayer is better than the other. Just keep in mind that I’m one of those fans who gets attached to the players we already have – and I LOVE to see the Memphis boys finally get their shot.  Sentimental?  Yes.  Loyal?  Absolutely.
I am ok with bringing in someone new IF that means we keep Skippy (probably platooning) and Daniel Descalso gets a good shot at proving himself in the big club.  Can we keep Jon Jay and Allen Craig too while we’re at it?
I haven’t done the math, but I’ve probably got about 12 players on the field already.  So, I’ll stop here.

Similar to writing a letter to Santa, it is best to keep it short.  I wouldn’t want to be too greedy.  The Hot Stove may not like that.  😉
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