The action of baseball, both mental and physical, is what makes this such a beautiful game

Why do we love spring so much?

Warmth, renewal, sunshine, fresh air, blossoms and energy.

And baseball.

For those who love this game, you may not understand why you do. You just do. And that’s good enough.

It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, but when you start to hear the sounds of it — be it crunching cleats on the gravel, the pop of a bat hitting the ball or the smack of the ball in a catcher’s mitt — all you know is that it’s time to pay attention.

And so you do. 

This, of course, is the time of year to catch plenty of baseball action at the high school level. Maybe you stop by to watch a few innings and you do so in silence. Or maybe you’re watching and without warning, you find yourself in conversation with a complete stranger about how tired the pitcher looks, or whether this batter should be bunting or that baserunner has a green light.

Whatever the situation, and wherever the game is you’re watching, it’s so easy to connect with the person standing next to you on a baseball level. It’s so easy to talk strategy and moves for two hours, then get around to introducing yourself to each other by name once the game is over.

Baseball is a game that’s connected. You played? Great. So did dad and grandpa. And all the thoughts and strategies that applied to grandpa’s team 50 years ago are still in play for the game you’re watching today. 

Runners at first and second with one out and you think you know what’s coming next? So does your new friend.

What’s the score? What’s the inning? Is that a left-handed or right-handed pitcher? Can he bring the heat or is it straight junk? Will the batter bunt or swing away? Where are we in the order?  How fast are the baserunners? 

So many variables, so many possibilities. What may look like an obvious situation all depends on the players in this drama. Sure, maybe you want the batter to swing away, but maybe he’s batting below .200. Maybe you want your runner at second to score on a single over the second baseman’s head, but what if your runner also happens to be the offensive tackle on your school’s football team?

Tell us again, who said baseball is boring?

These are the things that make baseball such a beautiful game. Just because players are standing still doesn’t mean nothing is happening. And while it is great to see stuff “happening” after the ball is hit, it’s the anticipation before each pitch — and the possibility of what can happen — that builds the excitement.

By and large, the game is the same as it was 100 years ago. So whether you’re 9 years old or 90, talking baseball is an instant connection that bridges the generation gap. Grandpa can tell you about the time he laid down a sacrifice bunt in the 1952 league championship game and here we are in 2017, trying to teach kids how to do the same exact thing.

It’s exciting, it’s nostalgic, it’s beautiful and it’s in season. It’s baseball.

Chavez is sports editor at the Daily Messenger. Contact me at rchavez@messengerpostmedia.com or follow me @MPB_bchavez