The Romance of Baseball
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I spent the entire weekend at the baseball fields. No, not Oriole Park at Camden Yards, not Fenway Park, not Nats Park. I spent my time at a little collection of fields called Kiwanis-Wallas Park in Ellicott City. We were there…parents, grandparents, siblings…all watching baseball and softball games as the kids are in the process of wrapping up the season with All-Star games and playoffs. It’s exciting, but it can also take a lot out of you. Both days, we were at the fields for hours.
When we got home last night and tucked the kids in—late—my husband and I sat down and watched “Moneyball.” He had already seen it, I hadn’t. I’d wanted to see the film since it came out, but I never got the opportunity.
When Brad Pitt, playing Billy Beane, says, “How can you not feel romantic about baseball,” I was ecstatic and knew immediately it was a topic for this blog. He captured the emotion, the rawness, and the impossibilities and probabilities baseball holds for those who love the game.
In the scene where Beane is so nervous and he can’t watch his team’s game from the stands, I felt an instant connection. In the MLB playoffs of ’96 and ’97, as an employee for the club, I was in the stands, watching my Baltimore Orioles fight for a spot in the World Series. These two back-to-back seasons were the most exciting times of my 13 professional years spent there.
The Orioles lost.
But that loss, similar to Billy Beane’s struggles, epitomizes the romance of baseball. It lifts you up and breaks your heart, just like a relationship. I cried right there in the stands on those evenings in the 1990s, and I got teary last night watching the movie.
“Moneyball” may not be for everyone, but I loved it. There were so many inside references in the film that I could totally relate to that feeling of building a team and feeling nostalgic about baseball, especially with my background in the field.
While I love what I do now, it’s tough not to get nostalgic at times. I love baseball for all the reasons most people love baseball: it’s the most romantic of all the sports, and the one that can bring both happiness and hurt, but always with a touch of hope.