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  • Eichel Davis

BP #43: For The Love Of Baseball

As I walked through the gates of Busch Stadium, I found myself falling right back in love with the place. Its not that I ever stopped loving the gorgeous son of a gun, but sometimes you forget how amazing a place is after being gone for a while. It had been almost a year since my last Cardinal game. Almost a year since I saw probably the longest homer of my life come off the bat of ole Grichuk. It had been almost a year since I had a ballpark frank. It had been almost a year since I had sat in those little red seats, watched my birds play the game, and listened to the sight and sounds of Busch.

Baseball really is a second love for me. Discovered at an early age, we’ve been through some exciting times together. In 2006 and 2011, the Cardinals won the World Series, and I was happy for them. I was happy for our town, for our group of wildcards. But being a fan is much different than being part of the team. I remember playing little league...and hating it. My athleticism was at an all time low, leaving me to hate those games, and fall out of love with the game itself. It wasn’t until 2013 that my love of the game came crawling back.

In the winter of my Junior year, I decided to manage high school baseball. It seemed like a very small choice, a very unimportant one at the time, but it became probably the most important decision of my life. Yeah it brought me two state championships, a couple of district titles, and some rings. But it also brought me some of my best friends. It brought me some of the fondest memories, along with some of my most heart aching defeats. And above all, it brought the future. I know it was a just game, a little break in time, but right now, looking back on it, it feels like the seeds. A stepping stone to where my life is today. Baseball brought all of that, and yet my love for the game wasn’t even fully realized just yet.

So I left the dynasty of Westminster baseball, taking a few things with me, and I came to Mizzou. Mizzou Baseball was in a restructuring period. Just joining the rugged SEC conference, Missouri was in its third season, and looking to prove something. It was interesting, coming from one end of the spectrum, to the other. Westminster was already the powerhouse when I arrived, while Mizzou was still on that long twisting road. It still is. The 2015 season has come and gone, but the things about it will forever be in my heart. I remember the pre-season, and how I would read the papers. “Can They Make It”, they read. Now, 30 wins later, the papers say something different. They say we made it. They look at the numbers, and make their new assumptions about the us and the game of baseball. But in that they miss it sometimes. The truly beautiful things about that team, and more over the game. They lose the sight and smells. They don’t add how the grass smells after being mowed, or how even in the silence of Taylor, there is always that one howling voice above our dugout. They sometimes miss the way it feels to be that dugout, with a thousand fans around you. They sometimes miss the way it feels to hear the crack of the bat, Or how it it sounds when a fastball hits a perfectly placed glove. They miss it. Or the way the cleats sound pressed into the dirt, or the way a walk up song can bring you instant happiness. But I think sometimes I miss it too. Toward the end of the season, it felt like I lost sight of the game, and began to look at the numbers.

And while baseball can be a numbers game, at the end of the day, you play, or you manage, or you coach for the love of Baseball.

I don’t spend hours daydreaming about numbers. I don't spend hours making videos and designing graphics for wins. And I surely don’t come to Taylor Stadium or Busch, for the love of numbers. I come to hear those sounds. The crack of the bat, the whip of the glove. I sit in that crowded dugout because I have bought into something. I have bought into those sacred relationships. I have bought into those conversations outside of the locker room. I have bought into the coaches. So the next time you’re at a baseball game, whether you are sitting in the stands, or leaning against the banister of the dugout, remember why we come. Remember why we are there. Because for us, for those true admirers of the game, we’re not there for numbers or appearances. We do what do what for the love of Baseball, and nothing more.


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