What Baseball Means to Us This Time of Year

Ryan LewisCorrespondent IMarch 9, 2010

DUNEDIN, FL - MARCH 7: Designated hitter Johnny Damon #18 of the Detroit Tigers signs autographs before the game against the Toronto Blue Jays March 7, 2010 at Dunedin Stadium in Dunedin, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
This piece won't have any statistics or references to Baseball Prospectus. It won't be long, analytical, or quite frankly, useful.
It won't focus on who will enter this season in Akron as apposed to Columbus as apposed to Cleveland, or predict when (2008 first round pick) Lonnie Chisenhall will break out in the Majors.
This is about that special little feeling every person associated with baseball gets every year. It can't be measured by sabermetrics, and it can't be bottled up and saved for later.
It's that little feeling every single one of us gets when the season is right around the corner and baseball is in the air. The smell of a glove or a ball is like sacred bliss. And for us in this area of the country, it usually falls on the first day where the sun shines and the thermometer finally tops 50.
That was today, at least for us here in Kent.
Everything just seems a little brighter, a little tastier, a little more beautiful, and (when it comes to the bad things in life) a little more tolerable this time of year. With baseball finally on the TV and radio waves, the simplest of acts, like driving around with the windows down and listening to Tom Hamilton, is like a second Christmas.
Because of the harsh Ohio/Pennsylvania winters, we blue-collar baseball buffs value and cherish the summer months of sunshine (well, as much Ohio sunshine as Mother Nature permits, which we all know is far too less) that much more.
So, let us just relish days like today. Baseball has started and will be here until October, and warm weather and sunshine will be here almost as long.
Let us grill our hot dogs (preferably Ballpark brand), and cover them in mustard or ketchup or Cleveland's own Stadium Mustard or onion or whatever poison you prefer.
Let us drink our cold beers (or for the youngsters, Cream Soda), and wear that special hat that you should probably wash by now, but the combination of beer/mustard/sweat stains on the brim have seen too many come-from-behind rallies and late-inning falls to just be wiped out now.
Let us break out our jersey, one new and one old. Since this blog pertains to Cleveland and Pittsburgh, I'm sure we all have a jersey from a former star traded to Boston, New York, or LA (Sabathia, Ramirez, Crisp, Martinez, etc.).
Let us line the bobble heads up one by one, and hope they bring fortune.
Let us drink from the "Souvenir" sized cup we brought home two years ago (hey, if it's going to be five bucks for a drink, might as well get some Tupperware out of it).
Again, since this is about Cleveland and Pittsburgh, I'm sure those cups are of players long gone (Sabathia, Westbrook and Lee still graze my beverages from time to time).
Let us get our yard work done in the warm sun only with Tom Hamilton or Greg Brown on the radio.
Let us watch Major League (and Major League 2 but come one...the third one was terrible) way too many times.
Let us roast hot dogs over a campfire, and tell baseball stories of our childhood heros.
Let us live and die each and every single night of the summer as the Indians and Pirates fight for October.
Let us play baseball.