Thursday, February 17, 2011

Valentines, Baseball and the Whig Party

Song 14 in my 323-part series. This is harder than I thought it would be, and I knew it would be hard.

Song: Boys of Summer
Artist: Don Henley

First off, yes, I know the song isn't about baseball as much as it a love song. Second, it's not all that sentimental song as he only promises to love her after the boys of summer are gone. So when the holidays roll around and he wants to head to Miami to avoid his family and you want him to meet your parents and your six cats who still live with them, he only promised to stick around until October, so you're out of luck.

So even though it's a love song, it's used by every network that has thought about showing a baseball game, thus making it a baseball song - if not in reality, at least in perception.

Wish I Was There
That makes this song the perfect Valentine's day song. A day commemorating love, passion, dedication. It also happens to be the day we celebrate our love for our significant others. Valentine's Day, for whatever reason, is traditionally the day when pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training, which makes it the unofficial beginning of Spring. (Also marking the unofficial beginning of Spring: the stupid groundhog, birds flying north, bears waking up from hibernation . . . really there's just a lot of animal signs in addition to baseball.) It also signals the beginning of my fantasy baseball prep work in anticipation of my drafts and the end of my attentiveness to my kid, dog, wife, appearance, cleanliness and the Asian financial markets.

Among the biggest reason I look forward to baseball season is the fact that it's my wife's favorite sport. She enjoys sitting on the couch on a lazy summer evening and turning on a game or going to the ballpark and getting a "game dog" and spending a few hours in the stands. (She can't explain why hot dogs taste better at baseball games then they do at home.) There's also the benefit of having "Dollar Beer Night" at the summer league stadium conveniently located less than a mile from my abode. It's just far enough that my kid can't quite make the walk, and as far as I know, there's no law against pushing a stroller while buzzed, so it works out for everyone involved.

Spring Training also means I get to start the season with hope. I'm not talking about President O'Bama's hope, but the hope that can only come from more than a century of not winning the title. I guess it's more like the kind of hope the Whig Party has every election. Anything is possible and if everything goes just right, this could be the year.  But more likely than not, it's going to end the same way every other year ends, with the Cubs not winning the World Series and me be resigned to that fact by early June, just as the Whig Party candidate realizes his chances of winning are doomed right about the point the two major parties decide to actually nominate someone.

So welcome back, boys of summer, even if you do report for Spring Training when it's still officially winter.

Next Song: Mysterious Ways
Artist: U2

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