Thursday, March 31, 2011

It's a brand new baseball season: Play ball!

It's a beautiful day for a ballgame
For a ballgame today
The fans are out to get a ticket or two
From Walla Walla, Washington to Kalamazoo
It's a beautiful day for a home run
But even a triple's okay
We're going cheer and boo and raise a hallaballoo
At the ballgame today

A brand new Major League baseball season starts today.

Play ball!

Every team starts with a clean slate. Zero wins. Zero losses. Zero games behind.

The baseball season is a marathon, not a sprint.  It lasts 162 games, stretching from March until October. Try telling that to the Steinbrenner family, which owns the Yankees and frets over every Yankees loss.  Even the best teams are bound to lose at least 60 games over the course of a season and the worst teams will win at least 60 games.  It's what happens during those other 42 games that makes or breaks a season.

Last year, the Giants finally won their first World Series since moving to San Francisco from New York at the start of the 1958 season.  For the lovable Chicago Cubs, they still haven't won a World Series since 1908 ~ that's 102 years.  The Cubs haven't even played in a World Series since 1945.  The Florida Marlins have been in existence less than 20 years and they've already won two World Series. Will this be the Cubbie's year? Time and 162 games will tell the story.

Last season was a high-def moment for Giants fans, of which I count myself among them.  Winning the division on the last day of the regular season, then defeating the Atlanta Braves and the Philadelphia Phillies to win the National League pennant.  I think many fans would have settled for National League champions and been happy. However, the Giants weren't finished.  Instead, they ran the table during the postseason with clutch hitting and superb pitching when it counted. The Giants beat the Texas Rangers in five games to the win the 2010 World Series.

Last season, the Giants were led by a motley crew of talented baseball players with nicknames like: The Freak (Tim Lincecum), Huff Daddy (Aubrey Huff) and Panda (Pablo Sandoval).  And, don't forget Brian Wilson ~ not the Beach Boy Brian Wilson, mind you.  Think "Fear the Beard" Brian Wilson. Today, he's 30-Down in the New York Times crossword puzzle. The team's marketing slogan suited the team's personality: "Giants baseball ~ Torture!"

Tonight, the Giants start the 2011 season as the World Champion San Francisco Giants.  It's got a pretty neat ring to it, doesn't it? Going into the new season, the Giants are deep in pitching, talented in hitting and they have 2010 N.L. Rookie of the Year Buster Posey behind the plate to guide Lincecum and the rest of the pitching staff ~ and, he'll no doubt add a little pop at the plate with his bat. Add to the mix the much-talked-about and talented rookie first baseman Brandon Belt, who could be this year's Buster Posey, and there's a lot to be excited about.

The Giants start defense of their world title against their nemesis and N.L. West rival, the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Game on. Beat L.A.

It's a brand new baseball season and every team starts with a clean slate.  Play ball!

Play Ball! credits:
1940s blockprint of Home Run by Walter Anderson (Mississippi artist, 1903-1965).
"It's a Beautiful Day for a Ballgame" sung by the Harry Simeone Songsters (1960). 

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