Reflections on Opening Day and the Joy of Baseball

Baseball Today is Opening Day! Not only have I enjoyed playing for many years, but watching it played these days is a true joy. For me, Opening Day is a bit like Christmas or my birthday. Some people find baseball too slow. I find it near perfect. Among all the other sports out there, baseball is setting itself apart once again as America's sport. If in fact there is an NFL lock-out that extends into next season, I believe baseball will once again go on a run as America's most popular professional sport. In part, this is because other sports seem to have adopted baseball's old vices, while baseball has been in cartharsis for the last decade.

I understand that some will scoff at such a notion. Give me a couple of years on this one. Here are some of the reasons I like baseball above the others sports.

  • History. It has a more robust sense of history than the other sports. No records are better known than baseball records. No athlete is so deeply embedded in the American consciousness than are Babe Ruth, etc. A big part of baseball's brand is nostalgia. These days, nostalgia is just what the doctor ordered. Seventh-inning stretch. Vin Scully. Keeping score. Spit. Brick-dust.
  • Affordability. The cheap seats are cheaper. The expensive seats are less expensive. A family of four can reasonably go to a game and get home for well under $100.
  • Family-Friendly. Not only is the cost more family friendly, the stands are generally more free of fights, scantily clad people, and lewd behavior. Not completely, but mostly. Baseball security is also the most quick to bounce drunks and lewd people.
  • Intellectual. Baseball is a thinking man's game, and it's built on hand-eye coordination and science…in addition to athletic ability. 
  • Quiet, with periods of noise, action and rest. I could write some theological points on this :0) but i would be stretching it. There is something nice about being able to talk to hang out with someone while still enjoying the game. 

So, today, let's enjoy a ball-game. I'll catch parts of Padres-Cards, and Dodgers-Giants. I'll put the Padres at around .500 this year. I'll take 82-80.

Here are my predictions for the playoffs:

National League: Phillies, Giants, Braves, Reds

American League: Red Sox, Yankees, Twins, Rangers

NLCS: Phillies vs. Giants (Phillies)

ALCS: Red Sox vs. Yankees (Red Sox)

World Series champs: Boston Red Sox

I'd love to hear your predictions or baseball memories!

Happy Opening Day!

Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

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3 thoughts on “Reflections on Opening Day and the Joy of Baseball

  1. It was fun growing up with Uncle Bill Spivey getting us all interested in collecting baseball cards. My husband is a pastor and a huge baseball fan. We’re Angels fans!
    Angels win it all! (if we can get our pitching going)

  2. Grew up rooting for the Cubbies. Ranger fan last twenty years. New season means new beginning, new dreams. If you fail to hit the ball 70% of the time, you’re stil all-star material. Eye on the ball, swing level and follow through…Put me in Coach, I’m ready to play!

  3. Agreed.
    I love the fact that it’s slower. The slowness of it makes it an experience. My daughter and I get on the train in Redwood City. We ride 30-minutes talking and sharing, as more and more Giants fan populate the train at each stop. The train ends a block away from the ballpark. We stop in Safeway and grab some drinks or a snack. For nine innings we visit with other fans, eat hot dogs, with the occasional burst of excite as someone splashes a homer in the water behind right field.
    There’s tension built into every pitch ans hope floats on every swing.
    My friend Chris Seay who founded and pastors, Ecclessia in Houston once told me he built his church on baseball games. At the beginning of the season he’d go downtown and buy a town of cheap seats and as he met and got to know people, he’d invite them to watch games with him. When else in life do people make that kind of time to sit and talk with one another?