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Batter Up, It’s Baseball Season

As school winds down and summer approaches, many students look forward to trips to the beach, hanging out by the pool with friends, or jetting off to exotic locations for a few weeks and I do, too. But the true excitement of summer for me is the full swing of baseball season. Whether I’m watching on TV or sitting in a plastic folding stadium seat in the heat of July, baseball is my favorite summer pastime.

I come from a baseball family. My mom grew up in Baltimore as a huge Orioles fan, while my dad, from a small town in the Northwest corner of Connecticut, grew up as a Yankees fan. My mom loved the Orioles third baseman Brooks Robinson so much that she almost named me Brooks Robinson Lloyd—I’m not joking. When my parents got married, it was a no-brainer that they would watch baseball together, but when the Orioles and the Yankees—division rivals in the American League—would play each other, they would sit on the opposite sides of the couch and just agree not to say anything. Eventually, because we lived in New Jersey and Orioles games weren’t broadcast on the local networks, my mom converted into a Yankees fan, but still pulls for the O’s, too.

My parents’ love for the game meant that my sisters and I grew up with games on the TV in the background and baseball talk at dinner. My first baseball game was at the old Yankee Stadium on Joe DiMaggio’s last public appearance in the summer of 1998. I knew the gist of the infield fly rule could tell you the Yankees’ standard lineup and positions of players by the time I was eight or nine. My favorite player growing up was Yankees’ first baseman Tino Martinez and when he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in 2001, I sat on the couch and sobbed for what seemed like hours. I was seven.

Some might think that my love for baseball is simply an inherited trait from my parents, but they’d only be half right. I got early exposure, which sparked a genuine interest in America’s pastime. What I love about baseball is the fact that the game we watch today is essentially the same as a game that was played 100 years ago. Sure, the players have gotten bigger, stronger, and faster, but the distance between each base is still 90 feet, the distance from the pitcher’s mound to home plate is still 60 feet six inches, and three strikes are still an out. There is no other game, in my opinion, that has withstood the test of time the way that baseball has.

There is also an incredible athleticism that baseball players have (I know there will be some people who will want to argue with me on this one, but hear me out). Sure, a lot of the time the fielding team is standing and waiting for a ball to be hit, but think about the reflexes needed to jump up and catch a ball that can be travelling up to 115 miles per hour or the sheer speed it takes to run up the outfield wall to catch a ball that would otherwise be a home run (if you don’t believe me, check out this video of Bo Jackson). And after you’ve wrapped your mind around that, think about the skill it takes to hit a ball traveling between 80 and 105 miles per hour with a piece of wood with a diameter of 2.6 inches. Baseball players are real athletes and they’re fun to watch.

Baseball, though, and especially the Yankees, is something that helps me connect to my father. Before my dad died in August 2012, we would spend time together watching the Yankees play. We would celebrate wins, lament the frustrating losses, and questions why our team had such a hard time getting hits with runners in scoring position. I grew closer and closer to my dad through baseball in those final years that I had with him. Today, every time I watch a Yankees game, I think about my dad and wonder if he’s watching with some of the Yankees greats like Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, and Mickey Mantle and I wish he was around to talk about stats and the season. Watching baseball helps me connect with him in a very tangible way, which is something that nothing else can quite give me. Baseball is America’s favorite pastime and it’s mine, too.

 

Image credits: Feature, Caroline Lloyd, Fox Sports, Sarah Lloyd

Sarah Lloyd is a senior History/Art History double major at Kenyon College. In her spare time, she swims for the Kenyon Ladies, works on the Relay For Life Committee, sits on the Senior Class Council, and eats a lot of food. 
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