Wednesday, February 24, 2010

February 24, 2010

        Three magic words echo on grassy fields in Florida and Arizona this week: "Pitchers and catchers."      They'll start playing exhibition games next week and real ones in April.  I know that more Americans love football and maybe hoops, but for me baseball has always been the magical game.  Maybe it's because it's timeless;  the clock never beats you;  the other team does.  Maybe it's because we've been playing it so long--more than a century as an organized professional sport.  Whatever the reason, it's the one that's got me hooked.      That's especially pathetic because of the team I root for.  I grew up in and around Chicago and I root, for my sins, for the Cubs.  They own what must be the longest losing streak in any professional sport.  They last won the World Series in 1908--a hundred and two years ago;  last won the pennant--this was back when there were two eight-team leagues, not the divisions we have today--in 1945, more than half a century ago;  lost the Series, if memory serves, to the Tigers in seven games.  I can still remember players on that team--"Swish" Nicholson, nicknamed for the sound his bat made when it missed the ball, Stan Hack, no hacker at all but a gifted third baseman, and so on.      People call them "Lovable Losers," but I never found losing lovable myself. They do have a wonderful ballpark, Wrigley Field.  The old ones--Wrigley, Fenway--seem to have more character than the new ones.      Anyway, here we go again.  This Cubs fan will be rooting again--hopeful and hopeless, all mixed up.  As usual.
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