We won’t stop. No way.
I was 4-years-old the last time the Orioles celebrated the milestone of clinching their division on their home field. I missed that one, still in the Single “A” division of my life. This time, I got to party like it was 1969. We all did. And hopefully you didn’t come late to the party, because you really have missed the best part – every game leading up to this point. This is baseball at it’s best and why it is simply the best game ever. And it’s OK if you don’t get it yet — there are plenty of people living in this town who don’t — because they have no reference point by which to compare it. But hopefully today and in the days and weeks to come, they will learn what it’s all about. It’s a beautiful grind.
You see the Facebook news feeds and pages in this community are filled with pictures and comments today about the Orioles becoming the AL Eastern Division Champs for the first time since 1997. But one comment really caught my attention because it’s raw and true. From my friend David Sigman on his FB page: “Congrats to all those children in Baltimore sixteen and under for now getting to understand the love of baseball and the Orioles.” I hope he’s right, because if you have been along for the ride, stuck around for the grind, you get to see what it can be all about, if only you believe and never give up.
It’s not easy. Unlike any other sport – this is a day-in, day out, 6-month test of will, determination, exhaustion, exhilaration, angst, heartbreak, excitement, love and really every adjective and verb I can think of. With no clock, you actually have all the time in the world to become immersed in what this game is all about, get overwhelmed with the numbers, learn what makes your guys tick and what it means to be a baseball fan.
I love the words of former commissioner Bart Giamatti about the game of baseball – “It breaks your heart, it is designed to break your heart.” And it does so time and time again and you keep coming back for more… until it doesn’t. Until you get to experience a moment like last night, whether you were there in person, watching on TV, or listening on the radio, it’s personal. Because baseball is just like that, and there’s nothing quite like it. Somebody up there in the heavens decided to turn a game into a living, breathing version of life. Heartbreak and triumph, feelings and emotions so deep and so raw – that can only come from those who know what it means to be a fan. And recognize what it’s like when it’s your team’s turn to shine.
Although sensational, this is no overnight sensation. And it ain’t done yet. But now we get to rewind a bit and soak it in until the post-season. For those just, as David said, “understanding the love of baseball and the Orioles”, I hope you get on board and experience the ride. This is only one stop along the journey, but hopefully you got a good taste last night – the frenzied crowd, which while not a sellout, certainly sounded like one. The mad rush onto the field. The proud manager, a 21st century version of baseball genius, watching his guys celebrate like a proud father. The AL East flag being carried around the warning track by Adam Jones, the man who embodies the heart and spirit of this team, and just might have more fun playing this game than any man I’ve ever seen. The beer-spattered fans who stayed around to celebrate and the ones who were lucky enough to get “pied.” This is baseball, this is life.
Sometimes it’s tough to know whether to smile or to cry when it’s this good. And just like life the game of baseball can turn on a dime. But I do know this – this is baseball and if you soak it in and enjoy the grind – life doesn’t get much better.
I won’t stop. I hope you won’t either.
Until next time, thanks for taking the time.
Mark Brodinsky, Author, Blogger, Financial Services
The #1 Amazon Best-Seller: It Takes 2. Surviving Breast Cancer: A Spouse’s Story