Baseball, Tradition, and the Passage of Time

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2014_MLB_All_Star_Game_LogoLast night Dennis and I snuggled up to watch the MLB All Star Game after the kids were asleep.  Being able to record games on the DVR and watch them later (and fast forward through commercials!) has really preserved our family life. 🙂

As they announced the American and National league teams, I made several comments along the same theme:

“Who are all these guys??”

“This can’t be the starters, right?”

“I don’t know any of these players!”

Lo and behold, they weren’t the starters, so I was greatly comforted when the starting lineups were announced and I was familiar with at least 75% of those players.  Whew!

A little background – I’ve been a sports fan as long as I can remember.  When Dennis and I became friends, sports was a major source of our conversations and connection.  He was really impressed with my sports knowledge when we first met and started dating.  I’d tease him: “It never occurred to you, being a huge sports fan, that you should date someone who was also a fan?”

Then, a few years into our marriage, I asked him, “Why aren’t you ever impressed with my sports knowledge anymore?”  He replied, “Well, I know you know this stuff now.”  Touché.  It was a classic example of the familiarity that comes with marriage.

Anyway, back to the game…

After years of watching sports and following my San Fransisco Giants faithfully, it was pretty surprising for me that I didn’t know a majority of the players in the All Star Game.  Then again, watching baseball has certainly dropped down priority list over the past six years (other than the Giants’ two World Series wins – I followed those playoffs religiously!).  Dennis knew many more of the players than I did, but even he noted a distinct difference in his level of familiarity with these teams.  “I guess we’ve been busy raising a family, or something” we joked.

Watching this game together felt poignant.  Realizing that the game was marching on, turning over players, and changing while we were busy focusing on our kids, was part of it.  But, it also had a sense of ceremony and tradition that seemed to mark the passing of time.

175px-1984_MLB_ASGMy dad attended the 1984 All Star Game at Candlestick Park.  He brought me home a pennant that hung in my bedroom for years afterwards.  Remembering this momento, that I hadn’t thought about in years, made me reflect on the tradition of this game that includes new star players each generation.

The sense of tradition was enhanced by the focus on Derek Jeter’s retirement after 20 years in baseball.  Now, we’re definitely not fans of the Yankees (in fact we kind of hate them because they play in the same division as Dennis’s team – the Baltimore Orioles), but it’s really hard not to like Jeter.  He’s an incredible player.  Plus, he teared up during the standing ovations for him – that was pretty cool.

Dennis noted that this is one of the last great players who only played for one team his entire career.  He compared him to his favorite all time player, Cal Ripken, Jr., who also had an amazing career entirely with one team.  We appreciate and enjoy the loyalty, particularly as it becomes more and more rare in professional sports.

Funny, I didn’t expect to think so much about life, tradition, and the passing of time while watching a baseball game.

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