Finally, the real baseball season is upon us
Forget everything you’ve seen up until now, there’s nothing better than late summer and fall baseball, the long and oft-boring regular season has weeded out the pretenders from the contenders and it seems every week there is a crucial series or two.
Watched a full Tigers-White Sox game last night (man, couldn’t you watch Justin Verlander pitch every day; dude’s like a current-day more-powerful Greg Maddux), checked into Washington-St. Louis in the afternoon and I know there’ll be games this week and next weekend that are crucial in what look like will be fascinating division wild card races.
And it’s not even the addition of the second wild card that’s made this part of this season so intriguing, it’s always like that; teams are grinding out games and at-bats and series between two teams chasing the same title are usually unbelievably interesting and have an intensity you don’t always see.
I’m not saying that players loaf through April, May, June, July and August but there is far less urgency in those months than there is in September and early October and it really makes it more enjoyable to sit and watch a game.
The baseball regular season is, of course, like no other because of its length and it’s pace and the way it seems to unfold slowly, imperceptibly slowly, with games coming every day and each melding into the other.
Now there’s something truly on the line for a dozen or so teams spread over the two leagues and six divisions and it gives casual fans something to pay close attention to.
I love games played outdoors in cool night weather, games that can truly turn on a pitch or an at-bat and single games that could determine who goes to the playoffs.
There is nothing like September baseball in any other sport, actually. The end of the regular seasons in the pucks, the basketball and the football are all too often just more of the same; there might be an important game or two but, to me, nothing unfolds like the last five weeks of baseball’s regular season.
Let it begin.
And, of course, because it’s Labour Day, why not a song about working and, I tell you, every time I put on anything by Van Morrison, I keep wondering why I don’t do it more often.
Guy’s pretty darn good, no?
Speaking of Labour Day, what’s it remind you of?
Every first weekend of September when I was growing up, as least as far as I can remember, the end of the summer was marked by a day of back-breaking yard work.
Okay, perhaps not back-breaking but the cutting of the grass, the picking up of the apples that had fallen from the two huge trees in the back yard and maybe helping clip the front hedge wasn’t exactly the way summer was supposed to end.
Wasn’t it supposed to end out in the field playing baseball, or loafing around some pool or just hanging around doing nothing as kids are wont to do before they have get back to the grind of school?
Yeah, well …
Anyway, didn’t there used to be a sense that Labour Day truly was the end of summer, wasn’t there a nip in the air after the first weekend of September, we put away lawn furniture and the barbecue and all manner of “summer” things?
Not it seems to be just another holiday weekend in the middle of the summer, it’s still warm bordering on hot, we still hang out outside and with the exception of the kidlets going back to school tomorrow, it’s not a whole lot different than, say, the August long weekend.
And even kids don’t seem to mind; the feeling I get from some of them is at some level summer gets a bit boring right now and school’s a welcome diversion.
But since there are still nice weekends and warm weather and things to do, I’m not sure today really marks anything in particular.
And since I don’t do much yardwork anymore, it’s just another day in the life.
Speaking of days in the life, we’re less than a month away from media day and the start of training camp for the HOTH so there’s that.
Until then, it’ll be guys arriving back in dribs and drabs, doing their workouts and getting ready.
Kinda like me.
One more on work, given the day?
Sure, why not.
So, tell me, how many of you will sit around today and watch at least a little bit of CFL football?
We don’t have an awful lot of sporting traditions in this country, regular matchups that have more intensity and more meaning than the usual.
Argos-Ticats and Stamps-Eskimos are two of the very best rivalries in Canadian sports and, to tell you the truth, I kind of get jazzed to watch at least a little bit of each of them each year.
(Of course the year the CFL didn’t have Toronto-Hamilton on Labour Day was idiotic but that was a one-off mistake I’m glad they corrected).
Now, having been at ivor Wynne for a rather mundane early-season Argo-Ticat game and having seen some of the behaviour of the fans, I’ll be watching from the comfort of someone’s home or a stool but I do imagine I’ll watch.
Maybe it’s because games between rivals in the other leagues (read, the pucks, that’s all there is) happen so often in the routine of a season, but these football games have a sense of event.
And we don’t have nearly enough “events” around these parts.