The Great American Game Returns: Gearing up for baseball’s new season

By Kevin Durso
March 27, 2012

Opening Day. The smell of freshly cut grass, the bright sunshine making for a picture-perfect day and the sound of an umpire yelling “Play ball!” April is right around the corner, and baseball is back.

It’s hard for a diehard baseball fan like me to not be excited for a new season. After all, the last time baseball was played, the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers battled in an epic World Series, and several teams saw the bitter end in a dramatic final day of the regular season.

There is plenty to be excited about in the new season. The offseason gave way to some of the biggest moves, with Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder changing leagues, with teams like the Miami Marlins and Washington Nationals headlining offseason moves, not the usual organizations like the New York Yankees or Philadelphia Phillies.

In the meantime, while teams were changing pieces, baseball was changing the rules. With a new expanded playoffs system, baseball is sure to be more exciting than ever before.

In case you didn’t know, five teams from each league will make the playoffs in 2012. This opens the door for the near-misses of 2011, the Atlanta Braves and Boston Red Sox.

Baseball is always a grinding sport. 162 games is a large number leaving plenty to be decided in the next six months. With this new playoff system, baseball is ensuring the best of the best really are playing for the World Series.

There is an old saying that reads “baseball is a marathon, not a sprint.” It is a journey that never fails to provide its ups and downs.

As a Phillies fan, baseball has given me and other Phillies fans very disappointing endings in recent years. Yet, for me, there is an effect that keep me coming back for more every year.

I had no preference of who won last year’s World Series. I didn’t root for either team throughout the season. But I saw my love of the game grow even more through a couple of exciting finishes that made any fan of baseball in general go crazy.

I think I realize how much joy the game brings me when I find myself yelling at the TV praying that a fly ball has just enough to carry over the fence…during a spring training game.

Spring training games have no real meaning except for preparation. And yet there is nothing more exciting than watching some of the most exciting moments of a ballgame have the same impact even when the games don’t.

Every year, I find myself coming back way more often than the year before. I attend more games, I follow other teams more. I simply can’t get enough.

I’ve heard many times over many years that baseball is a dying sport and that other sports have taken its place. For me, nothing compares to the great American game.

If last season tells us anything, it’s that baseball is alive and well. Baseball can still bring people together.

If last season tells us anything, it’s that this great American game is unpredictable. Just ask the Braves and Red Sox.

If last season tells us anything, baseball can only continue to grow from here.

I have high hopes that baseball will continue to deliver for many years to come. Those few magical nights in late September and October can keep baseball fans excited for the future.

The pastime has returned. Baseball is back again. Another season is beginning set to take us on a wild roller coaster ride. Time to play ball and see where this great game takes us next.

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Kevin Durso

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