Baseball begins today, April 6, 2015. OK, the Cards played the Cubs last night. Adam Wainwright threw 6 scoreless innings as the Cards won 3 - 0 with former Red Sox Jon Lester taking the loss. Today is the first full day of baseball that counts. During the exhibition season, I practically never watch more than an inning or two. Last night, rather than watching the Cubs-Cards, I watched the Notre Dame and Connecticut women's basketball teams advance to play for the NCAA national championship tomorrow night. Tonight, the men's championship game pits Wisconsin vs Duke. My St. John's Red Storm men's team made the NCAA tournament for a change but were one and done. Former St.John's great Chris Mullin will be coaching the team next season.
As much as I like basketball, baseball will always be #1 with me. Maybe it's because if I had been good enough to play either sport, baseball would have been my choice. I can fantasize about a much more talented me beating out a bunt and stealing a base while on defense racing into the alley to run down a deep fly ball. I honestly could never see myself crushing a fastball and watching it fly into an upper deck or throwing a speedy runner out at the plate with my puny right arm. As much as I'd love to, I also could never see myself dunking a basketball. I'm lucky to touch the bottom of the net. At least my love of playing these sports kept me from smoking for which I am eternally grateful.
Since I'll shortly be entering my 70th year, my love of baseball does not translate into braving heavy traffic, huge crowds, bad weather, etc. to actually attend a game. All that is in the past - unless it's to get together with friends. Some might say I'm not a true fan. Don't care. I'll be a dry and warm fan. Today at noon here in Nashville I'll be sitting in my living room, watching the Yankees open against the Toronto Bluejays in the Bronx on Direct TV. It will be "Tanaka Time", as Masahiro Tanaka faces Drew Hutchison of the Jays. Yankee management will be holding their collective breaths in fear of Tanaka re-injuring his arm. Prospects for 2015 are not very good.
The only game or games I'm likely to attend this year will be at the brand new First Tennessee Park, (which has replaced Greer Stadium) in Nashville. It's the home of the Triple A Nashville Sounds, an affiliate of the Oakland A's for the first time. Even at FTP, I'll avoid the crowded Friday to Sunday games. Today, I'll put on my Yankee sweatshirt and right before the game starts I'll play the best baseball song ever written, John Fogerty's "Centerfield" - "Put me in coach, I'm ready to play, today".
Besides the Yankees, I'll root for teams my friends follow like the Dodgers and the Mariners. I also like to root for a few bad teams. This year my favorite underdogs will be the Minnesota Twins in the American League and the Cincinnati Reds in the National League. Who will you be rooting for?