Hello all from sunny sunny Newport, Rhode Island! Home of New England’s beloved Gulls http://www.newportgulls.com/. I had the opportunity to drive by their historic ballpark the other day, but unfortunately will not be here long enough to catch a game. I still hope to snag a few photos before it’s all said and done. Like most of you, I’m waiting in eager anticipation for the season to start. Only 27 days by my watch! cmn
There must be some truth to the rumor. The groundhog didn’t see his shadow, and the first game of the season was postponed due to inclement weather—in Virginia Beach, mind you.
College baseball, especially small college baseball, is a facet of the baseball diamond of which few, at least judging from the attendance, are aware. It is the first of baseball, even before pitchers and catchers report, and evokes the same emotions as tender verdant sprouts pushing through the snow. One can see the players playing pepper on temperate winter afternoons, like apparitions emerging from the cornfield in Field of Dreams. If you open the window, or perchance step outside, you can hear the chattering of the players like squirrels gathering, and the reverberation of leather against leather and wood.
But all things come to him who waits, and today there is baseball. It is sixty degrees and the sun is smiling. The Virginia Wesleyan Marlins play the Hampden-Sydney College Tigers, which finished as the twelfth ranked team in NCAA Division III a year ago. Last Saturday I was privileged to watch the Marlins play last year’s runner up, Cortland State University, which eliminated Hampden-Sydney in Wisconsin during the championship series.
This is some great baseball. The enthusiasm of the kids is inspiring to watch. They shout encouragement to one another throughout the game, and knock fists in camaraderie between plays. They play together, and they play well. Watching the shortstop for Hampden-Sydney make a disciplined decision to take the out at first rather than attempt a double play off a quirky hop made me realize these players are well coached, and know how to play the game.
Baseball is back, and the sun is smiling. –amn