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Baseball is here

Andrew Seroff | Tuesday, April 28, 2009

April is almost over, which means one thing. That’s right, the end of the first month of baseball! Yes, we all have been watching closely as our aces flounder, our sluggers whiff, and our managers lie through their teeth about how this season will be better than last. Who will be this year’s Rays? What division will the Wild Card come out of? We’re starting to get a clue, but there’s still plenty of ball to be played (and if you’re Manny Ramirez, teams to be carried).

As I sit watching baseball (taking breaks between pitches to write fragments of this article), I reflect on what makes the sport so endearing. Other than the number one reason – the boyish good looks of Matt Holiday, I think I have derived a universal truth buried beneath the steroids and flat-brims: everyone loves statistics. There is nothing like crunching the numbers and mathematically calculating who should win, and then watching in horror as your sub-3 ERA pitcher walks the lead-off man.

That’s why the first few weeks of baseball is so fun to watch: every player has a fresh start. ESPN will put up those “Last Season” stats, but what does it matter? It’s amazing that a sport with such a long season has such a long off-season as well, giving time for last season zeroes to train to become this season’s heroes. Aaron Cook, my favorite ace, gave up a home run to the very first batter he faced, which I suppose means that last season’s heroes can also spend that off-season becoming zeroes. His ERA last season: 3.96. His ERA now: 27. And that’s just it. New season – anybody’s game.

Unfortunately, we can’t sit and watch baseball all day every day. In the eternal words of Asher Roth, we all “gotta head back to class for a little bit.” Unless you’re a Cubs or White Sox fan, we’ll all have to settle with watching the Red Sox and Yankees in the evenings, until we can return to our respective domiciles with complete access to our teams’ games. Oh those poor, dreamer Cubs fans. After saying it a hundred years straight, you’d think they’d be sick of saying, “This year’s our year.”

Soon, my fellow baseball fans, we will be out in the sun, enjoying some dogs and rooting on the home team. For now, however, take baseball as your Seventh Inning Stretch. Put that paper off another day, or forget about studying for your big finals, and enjoy some of America’s favorite past time. Just a couple more innings of academia left, then you have all summer to do whatever you want. And when those dogs are barkin’, put your feet up, kick off your shoes, and enjoy some baseball. I know I will.