I'm going to veer off of the beaten path a little bit, so please bear with me for a moment. As I sit here watching the College World Series, I find myself watching with a huge smile on my face. As an avid fan of the game of baseball, and one who finds beauty in the simple intricacies of the game, I can't help but want to write a "Thank You" note to the head coach of the Arizona State Sun Devils. Take a look at the photo that I posted along with this blog and see if you can guess what has me grinning from ear to ear.
I can't remember the last time I saw an entire team of baseball players on the field, and in the dugout, wearing their uniforms the way they were intended to be worn. I don't know if this is something that ASU head coach, Pat Murphy, has mandated to his players, or if this is a subtle sign of team unity. Either way, I don't care because every player on the team is wearing his pants pulled up to his knees, with stockings and stirrups showing for all the world to see and enjoy. No baggy clown pants (ie: Jeff Bagwell, Manny Ramirez and the majority of professional ball players) hanging down over the tops of their cleats.
Baseball is a game of traditions, superstitions, and well defined rules. In an era where the concept of "team" has given way to "individualism", I can't help but yearn for the days of old when baseball players respected every aspect of the game. The game of baseball today feels like it's more about the huge contracts and endorsement deals, rather than the game itself.
I know, this probably all seems ridiculous to the average fan, and petty to the fair-weather fan, and I respect those opinions. But, to the true baseball fan, I feel confident that I'm not the only one to feel this way.
I played baseball for as long as my body would allow me to. I still remember the feeling of pride and excitement I had each and every time I put on my uniform, and the meticulous way I would make sure my stirrups were straight and my pant legs were pulled up evenly. I miss putting on a baseball uniform. I have a 6 year old son who plays T-ball, and I've already impressed upon him the importance of wearing his uniform "the right way". Physically, we all eventually outgrow the game of baseball, but the game will never outgrow us!
Thank you Coach Pat Murphy and the Arizona State Sun Devils! Thank you for respecting the game! I hope it rubs off on others!