Friday, April 13, 2012

America's Pastime

After an off-season that seemed MUCH longer than it was, it's finally back! It's time for peanuts and Cracker Jack, hot dogs and frozen lemonade! It's time for RBI's, ERA's, BB's, K's and HR's! It's the return of the heat, the high cheese, the slider, breaker and knuckle ball! No this isn't some alien code - it's BASEBALL SEASON!!! I love, I mean LOVE baseball! It is, in my estimation, the best sport to watch and play. My favorite team? The Atlanta Braves.

People often ask me, living so close to Washington DC and Maryland, why I'm not a Nationals or Orioles fan. Puhleeze! With all due respect, pft!(insert raspberry sound here) I am a die-hard Braves fan, have been my entire adult life and will never waiver! When I was a kid, I was a Washington Senators fan. I loved to listen to their games on the radio with my dad. I don't know if they ever televised any games "way back then" or not. I just remember my dad sitting by the radio, cheering and fussing, depending upon how the game was going. When I was in 6th grade, I got to attend a Senators game at RFK. I was awe-struck by the entire experience. I remember how big the stadium looked, how exciting each play was, the man who complained that we were tossing our peanut shells into the air and that the Senators lost to the Athletics. Despite the outcome, it was a fabulous day and one that I will always treasure. Frank Howard was my favorite player then and when I played softball, I requested his number, 33. I still have my little uniform shirt. A few years ago, Mr Howard, aka the Home Run King, was appearing at a sports collectibles show and I had the honor of meeting him, taking my picture with him and having him autograph a photograph for me. That was way cool!

We even meet Dolly Niemiec, who was a real player for the woman's league! The movie "A League of Their Own" was based on her team. Women. In baseball. What a dream come true! She was so sweet and it was great hearing about her experiences!

Up until a couple of years ago, the Braves had a Minor League team in Richmond, VA. I attended college there, so started going to the games. What fun! The stadium was old but full of history and there was a live person, a little old lady, who played "The Baby Elephant Walk" and other tunes on an organ - none of that recorded stuff like they use now. I even met Hank Aaron there once - what a thrill that was! I quickly became a Braves fan and never looked back. Jim likes the Red Sox and I have to admit that I like them as well, but they're not my Braves. I tell Jim that I cheer for Boston when they're not playing against the Braves. When they are, I pity them!

Right now, as I type, I am watching the Braves' home opener against Milwaukee. The score is currently tied, 8-8. I've just finished eating my favorite take-out dinner, a turkey and avocado sub from Jimmy John's and am happy to report that the entire lawn, front, back and sides, has been mowed by moi (phew!). The perfect dinner while watching the perfect sport, sitting next to my perfect husband is a great way to spend a perfect evening! Oh, did I mention that it was perfect? Wait, there is the matter of that tied score and it's only the top of the 7th so it's any one's game. As the great Bobby Cox, former manager (and oh so perfect) of the Braves would say, "Come on, kid!" Wow, I sure do miss him!

So, it is safe to say that I am one happy camper, or baseball fan, who intends to spend many hours cheering my team on, even if the television is the only one who can hear me. One day, I will sit in Turner Field and they will definitely know I'm there! Go Braves!

Update: The Braves won 10-8 in the top of the 9th! I live for this!

Hugs, Leena

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