I know that no one cares that I still play baseball on Sunday, and that’s cool. I Twitter about my team from time to time, mostly in a joking fashion, but when Sundays roll around it’s serious business. You here the phrase, “For the love of the game” all the time. Well, in the Sunday leagues, the love of the game isn’t just shown when you are between the lines playing. It’s also shown two hours before game time when you are not only baseball players, but the grounds crew. It doesn’t happen every week, but when Mother Nature decides to display her anger from time to time, and with the crappy baseball fields we play on, it’s necessary to work on them before first pitch. It amazes me that football fields from coast to coast are meticulously maintained, while baseball fields are left to rot in the summer. It’s a travesty and something should be done about it, but I digress.
So 6 a.m. this morning e-mails and text messages started flying back and forth with the team. Fritz brought his tractor, Chris brought the attachment for the tractor to smooth out the infield. There were about six metal rakes in action, I was wielding one of those, a tamper, a couple of shovels, and two leaf blowers. This morning was Sunday playoff baseball in the MSBL over 28 Connecticut league, however, you would think by looking at us, we were a professional grounds crew, not the team that was to take the field in less than two hours.
We don’t get paid to play. We pay to play in these leagues. When Sunday’s roll into Monday’s we get back to the grind. Whatever are normal lives entail. Bumps and bruises don’t ache, they feel good. Making a running catch, feeling a ball come off a wooden bat, diving and snagging a ball up the middle, getting the game winning hit in the bottom of the ninth, these are the reasons we play. Not because we are in a contract year and we need to get a raise, not because we have to, but because we love the game.
Love in this sense is defined as taking a strong liking for something or taking great pleasure in something. Waking up at 7a.m. and tending to a field that looks like a hurricane hit it, all before playing nine innings in 90-degree weather? That’s my definition of love.
Final score: Stamford Mets 4, Wilton Red Sox 3. Shearn: 2-2 GW RBI bottom of the ninth.
That doesn’t hurt either.