Arts/Literature

Photography – Pitchers and Catchers

by Dawn Farmer

The Return of Hope

Pitchers and Catchers Report to Spring Training

For those of us that have survived a long winter of discontent, our hopes are renewed once again this February 12th.

We’ve been combing the schedules since early January plotting our ticket purchase strategy. Which teams will visit our home park this season? Will it be on a weekend or mid-week? Should I pick a game or two in September and hope at least one will feature a World Series contender on the field?

Red Sox single game tickets went on sale January 24th. I actually got to one of their games at Fenway last summer, better than a trip to Lourdes. We can talk about that later.

My home team is the Seattle Mariners. They are hard to love, but we try anyway. The first year Ichiro played for the Mariners Safeco field was awash in package tours from Japan. The right field stands always filled with Japanese signs exalting number 51 and his magic black bat.

Professional baseball is certainly entertaining, but the best baseball is in the minor leagues – not even A-Rod can ruin that. The most expensive ticket in the park is $12, and that puts you in the really nice section, behind home plate under the broadcast booth. You can have a couple of beers and peanuts and not have to take out a loan to add a hotdog. Nothing is as kitschy and goofy as the between-inning entertainment: the shopping cart races from third to first, the remote control monster truck rally, the kids running the bases in size 13 shoes and the “Fishin’ for Tuition” skill game sponsored by one of the local banks.

We usually get seats behind the guest team dugout. Five or six rows up, you can actually hear the game as well as watch the players; the swing of the bat, the field conversations and that wonderful sound when the bat and ball connect.

I love baseball. Thank the baseball gods it has returned for another season.

8 replies »

  1. Here, here, here and here! I only wish that there was any team less than 6 hours drive from home.

    I believe that the US began slipping into decadence when football replaced baseball as America’s pastime…

  2. Lex – wait a minute – football did what? Not in my reality. That’s a long way to the ballpark…

    Dr. S – an excellent goal. I’ve never had the pleasure of attending a Spring Training game.

    Josh – so close… I hope you get to some regular season games.

  3. Major League Baseball has been kind of spoiled for me this year. See, I’m a Yankees fan. No, it’s not the A-Rod steroid scandal. It’s the way the City of New York threw a ton of money in times like these at the Yankees for their new stadium. Not to mention the Yankees bestowing a quarter of a billion dollars on two top pitchers they just acquired.

    I supposed minor league baseball is the answer. But I know I won’t get around to that. Instead of baseball, I will probably just relax with movies rented from NetFlix this football offseason (which is how I think of the baseballl season anyway).

  4. Russ – then let’s hope they are baseball movies at least!

    My husband and son took in a game at the old Yankee Stadium last April. Truthfully I haven’t even looked at the pictures of the New Yankee stadium. I was living in Washington DC when Camden Yards opened. We used to ride the train up to watch Cal Ripkin, Jr. play. New parks can be both wonderful and frightful. The new park for the Nationals left me cold.

    It’s an astounding amount of money involved with these clubs and certain players.

  5. Re: minor league baseball — sadly, this past season was, as itʻs turned out, the final one for the Hawaii Winter Baseball League. Iʻm hoping thereʻll be another incarnation, as there has been in past years, before I die. It was that much fun.

    With fake-name teams like the Waikiki Beach Boys and the North Shore Honu, nobody really rooted for any particular team, but we were all royally entertained by the doings of the young players. The recorded organ on the PA started the top of the first inning with that old cliche “da da da dup da-dah! — ʻCharge!!!ʻ” phrase, except that not a person among all of us 50-odd attendees actually yelled “Charge!!!” Silence for a few seconds. Then, a wonderful little ripple of gentle gigglage broke out among us, setting the happy tone for the rest of the game.

    During the game, we were afforded extended glimpses of young pitchers working on mechanics: hitting strike-zone corners, developing 2nd pitches, etc., so that at times 6+ batters in a row were walked without actually causing a major crisis. We watched Buster Posey hit consistent line drives; we saw a Carl Furillo-strong throwing arm nearly beat a tagging-up runner at home plate, from the wall in right field 400 feet away. Right field, by the way, is situated in Hans LʻOrange Field in the sweet sugarmill town of Waipahu, where one can find the tastiest Filipino food in the islands. What we were witnessing in reality was the top prospects of last yearʻs college crop, American and Asian, in their first winter of professional baseball. Our seats were not even 50 feet away from home plate: watching baseball never was more completely fun. Bring it bac,k ye who hold the key to this magic!

  6. Right on Pookapooka! I hope the baseball gods smile on you soon with more games.

    These young men are so much fun to watch work on their skills and perfect their swagger. 🙂

    I’m so glad you mentioned the team names – they are wonderful. We have the Everett Aquasox and the Tacoma Rainiers.

    Thanks for sharing your story with us.