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For the love of the game

Justin Tardiff | Thursday, October 9, 2003

As the 2003 major-league season draws to a close, I find that people are wearing their hearts on their sleeves – literally. In the last week I’ve noticed an increase in the Cubs jerseys worn around campus and the Red Sox hats on people’s heads. For every person wearing a Yankees cap sideways, I’ve seen a “Yankees Suck” trucker hat, T-shirt or sticker in someone’s dorm room.

I’ve personally been a disappointed baseball fan this year. The Phillies, despite the acquisition of Jim Thome, lost a tough Wild Card race and also lost me a bet. I also grew up watching the Twins, thanks to my dad, an Iowa native – and yes, we’ve been to Dyersville, where “Field of Dreams” was filmed. Unfortunately, their fleeting moment of victory over the Yankees ended in bitter defeat.

The sweet part of this, however, means I can sit back comfortably, albeit bitterly, and watch the postseason unfold.

The Cubs fans are my personal favorites; they believe in their team in a way that I find endearing. Our interhall football coaches bring a portable radio when the Cubs are playing, and can barely contain their excitement between Cavanaugh football and Cubbies baseball.

Red Sox supporters are a close second – anyone from Boston who can butcher “Nomar Garciaparra” in the name of love deserves recognition, and the fact that every year can be a championship year – despite Babe Ruth’s famous curse – leaves me admiring their optimism. And memo to all Yankees fans: it doesn’t take talent to buy talent.

But I think the real baseball game is never televised. Sure, it’s cracker jack and $100 million payrolls, but it’s also the kid on his or her field of dreams.

Baseball gives every kid a chance to be a hero – Hollywood has capitalized on this with countless movies.

It’s my dad in the backyard hitting countless balls to us in games, and the Little Leaguers who look like bobble-head dolls in their batting helmets.

Baseball is a game for all ages – when fourteen to fifty-year olds can play pick up games on a summer afternoon in dying sunlight, with all talent levels and good-natured fun for everyone.

As much as I enjoy watching the big leagues, to me, the beauty of baseball is in the people who play for love, not money.