Will The Marlin Soar?

“People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.” (Rogers Hornsby)

Whenever I enter a Major League Baseball Stadium, my immediate attention usually focuses on the sheer thrill of winning baseball for the hometown team. Before each game begins, I so often “tune in” to the contagious enthusiasm of the crowd resonating throughout the ballpark waiting for the game to begin. At this year’s Miami Marlins “Fan Fest”, however, I got my baseball juices flowing” in a much different way. For while no game outcome would be decided on this bright sunny afternoon in mid February at Marlins Ball Park, a “behind the scenes” aura of winning Marlins Fever seemed to resonate strongly during my visit.

How liberating it seemed at this inaugural spring training event, that all fan attendees today were granted free roam of the playing field, dugout, seating areas, and team locker facilities for more than three hours. For me, such a personalized tour of Marlins Park stimulated a “deep-seated“ mind probe into the human matter of team culture to win for those who actually play this game so competitively. For how intensely does each hitter practice at batting cages to improve their swing before each game? How efficiently does a rookie sensation pitcher use his modest locker space to help him prepare positively to face competent, major league hitters? What strategies does a valuable bench player have to stay focused in the crowded dugout as he awaits the pressure induced call to pinch-hit later in the contest? To what extent do the established stars of the team selfishly prefer to promote themselves as popular celebrities rather than improve on fundamental baseball skills needed for winning team play?

With these performance issues in mind, I present the following slideshow from “Fan Fest” 2020. Can you spot any signs leading to the sweetness of victory as the Miami’s Marlins strive to soar this year to heights of winning baseball?

Magical Mania Of Scoreboards

” If winning isn’t everything, why do they keep score?” (Vince Lombardi)

In this modern era of digital information overload, how do scoreboards capture my live sports attention during baseball/football season at home? Tradition holds that competitive game action for me should hold my interest firmly to the winning and losing end. Yet at major league baseball games, I now find myself impatiently overlooking each inning by inning compilation of player/team statistics on the big, Jumbotron scoreboard. Under these unusual circumstances, I instead long for a strong personal connection unrelated to the game experience. Likewise, I find myself consistently ignoring the unfolding drama of gridiron battle on the field now at an NFL football game in favor of the dazzling sensory blast of pure entertainment energy emanating from the giant video screen above.

I realize, however, that the expanded functions of today’s scoreboards have resonated deep seated meanings in our road trip travels. Picture for example, the end of our long and tedious driving days on our road trips. In the relaxed setting of a small town baseball park, curious glances at the scoreboard have revealed to me a vital community connection of where I am and why am I are visiting there.

In visits to college campuses, you might also imagine my thrill at re-experiencing youthful enthusiasm as I join in with the lively masses of at a college football game in a scoreboard barrage of “rah rah” energy. Or on those more sedentary occasions when the weather turns bad or I do not feel up to driving, the multifaceted features of the IPhone/I Pad becomes my main ticket to experiencing new scoreboard mania.

So imagine it’s game day again and settle into the following photographs of scoreboard impressions from our recent travels.

I long for the days when you would leisurely watch a live Major League game with strict focus on inning progress with a paper scorecard in hand and an occasional glance at a simple scoreboard.

Sadly, however, only Fenway Park in Boston and Wrigley Field in Chicago remains as authentic reminders of the old days of manually operated scoreboards that strictly focused on key game statistics in Major League Baseball games.

So I often lose concentration on the game these days as I stare constantly at the ever changing collage of information offered by the Jumbotron scoreboard. Notice how many people in the photo below are not actually watching the game action on the field.

Such non-game communication with game spectators on digital scoreboards at times breeds narcissistic silliness. Why not watch the game instead?

Judging by the woman depicted on the screen, I could also fulfill my own sports fantasies in digital magic. Where have you gone, Eric Stamets?

Would you oppose as I would this historic backdrop along this centerfield wall becoming torn down for another Jumbotron scoreboard?

In similar fashion, would you prefer as I do an unobstructed view of gorgeous San Francisco Bay or a new, information cluttered Jumbotron?

Maybe a better use of big board” scoreboards would be to disdain selfie hedonism and offer greater hope to unify our much divided country.

Perhaps the future of scoreboards will evolve into more artistic forms of creative expression. Would you recognize this recently discarded sculpture as post- home run fireworks gadgetry at Marlins Park.

So in spite of my reticence to change scoreboard tradition, I too have become “hooked” on the much needed, positive energy of “big board”digital glitz.

Perhaps then the magic mania of scoreboards will help the Miami Dolphins to finally win one this Sunday.


Baseball Healing Power 101

“I have been in ballparks for seventeen years and have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans.” (Lou Gehrig Farewell Speech, July 4 , 1939)

As I watch the news each day as an informed American, I struggle to handle the emotional trauma of the latest “meltdowns” of our President against Democrats, woman, minorities, and immigrants… Searching deeply for alternate mind diversions from such daily politicized crises in my country on a lazy Sunday afternoon, last week, I suddenly envisioned a “ray of hope” as I absorbed anew the healing powers of a Major League Baseball game. With my mind typically filled with in – game progress outcomes accompanied by a deep longing for heroic player deeds, I realized that I had found the ideal antidote to the destructive “I win, you lose” mentality of this President. For there are no actual defeats in baseball if you consider that this historic game inspires fairness of play, furtherance of diversity, and love of country.

Thinking more deeply about the positive impact of “America’s legendary “pastime”, to counteract such present concerns for our country’s direction, inspiring MLB baseball stories in recent days come immediately to mind. When raging Donald stokes fears of immigrant border invasions, I settle into the infectious smile of great Puerto Rican shortstop Francisco Lindor radiating throughout each game. When he targets people of “color” with disgusting tweets of racism to fire up his “White American base” ”, I counterpunch with the heartwarming fan tribute to Venezuelan pitcher Carlos Carrasco at the MLB All Star Game in his battle to overcome leukemia in the prime of his career. Noting our President’s recent “divide and conquer” demagoguery to circumvent bilateral congressional agreements about health care and many other vital issues, I am reminded by the unified outpouring of player/fan support in the aftermath of pitcher Tyler Skagg’s untimely death that it takes concern for EVERYONE to comprise a winning American team for Election 2020.

I conclude this blog with the following photographic display from our road trip travels, thus revealing how therapeutic thinking magic of live baseball exists in the eyes of this enthusiastic fan.

1. Settle in for a closer view of the action and feel the exhilaration of bat meets ball.

2. Admire the element of teamwork required for game success.

3. Don’t bother multitasking at a game. Let go of such mind clutter by focusing on the ball, not your latest I Phone distraction.

4. It’s wonderful to be a kid again.

5. Relax knowing a weather delay provides an opportunity to slow down your schedule in life.

6. Feel the welcoming spirit inside a comforting home field presence. Then show similar warmth toward others.

7. Stay focused on each game in quiet calmness by tracking player statistics on a scorecard inning by inning by inning.

8. A baseball game might not be the best place to worry about a diet. So eat enjoyably there.

9. Pay more attention to the positive human dynamics BEFORE a game begins.

10. Past baseball heroes can help one cope with the inevitable passing of life into death. Thus, it’s ok to cry in baseball.

11. Improve your critical thinking skills by watching the outcome of each play without premeditated judgment of all bad or good.

12. Absorb the sensory healing power of green grass nature comprising the field surface

13 Honor historic legends of the game that provide positive role model lessons for the present.

14. Sit in the cheaper upper deck seats and admire the panoramic surroundings beyond the stadium. Bring a pair of binoculars along.

15. Dress up in your favorite team gear to celebrate your local team spirit.

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