April, Come It Will
Modern technology is a wonderful thing.
Sitting here in East Tennessee in the comfort of my easy chair I can, thanks to the wonders of the internet, punch a few buttons and suddenly hear the velvet voice of Vin Scully describing the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball game.
Chavez Ravine is 3,000 miles a way, and yet I can hear the legendary Dodgers broadcaster as if he were broadcasting from Fountain City. I can even hear the gentle roar of the crowd and the occasional bark of a beer man hawking his product.
April is here and of course that means baseball.
The game returns in the spring, when the world begins anew. At this early stage in the season even the hapless Pittsburgh Pirates are theoretically contenders. The possibilities seem endless.
Stretching ahead are promises of lazy summer afternoons full of home runs and strikeouts, curve balls and sliders. This grand old game is still after all these years the greatest of them all.
Steroids and the weak tenure of commissioner Bud Selig have dimmed the sport in the eyes of many, not to mention the fallout from the disastrous 1994 strike. Here's hoping the recent Congressional hearings and MLB's new steroid policy will put the subject to rest.
If players are using illegal substances, suspend them. Period. Level the playing field. Period. This ain't rocket science, Bud.
The steroids controversy also dims the latter day home run records. Barry Bonds and even the beloved Mark McGwire suddenly seem like, well, cheaters. Hank Aaron and poor Roger Maris sure do look good in the rearview mirror.
(Where's your asterisk now, Ford Frick?)
And yet it is hard to stay angry with the game for long. It draws you in like an old friend, a comfortable, familiar face full of the blissful memories of youth. Getting lost in the warm cadences of Vin Scully's play-by-play, little else seems to matter.
Baseball is back. Life is good. All is right with the world.