First of all, thank you to the amazing Toni for allowing me to be here with all of you today. She’s such an inspiration to a new writer like me, and her love of hockey is infectious, something I can appreciate as the daughter of a retired high school hockey coach. But I’m not here to gush about Toni or talk about hockey. I’m here to talk about baseball, and I hope some of you are fans like me. If you’re not, I’m going to convince you to give it a try by listing some of my favorite things about the sport. At the end, I’d love it if you’d add your favorite things about baseball, too, and if you do, you’ll have a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card and be entered into my grand prize drawing, celebrating the release of Save My Soul, my debut novel, and the first book in the Kemmons Brothers Baseball Series!
So here we go…the first part is sung to the tune of “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music. No, no, I’m kidding. I couldn’t figure out how to make that work. It’s just a list of my favorite things about baseball in no particular order:
1. Homeruns: I’m a sucker for the anticipation, the “will it” or “won’t it” clear the wall? And I love when the crowd jumps to their feet as though they’re tethered at the waist. It’s the only time you will ever hear me whoop.
2. Hot dogs: They taste better at the ballpark. And if you can catch one that’s been shot by the mascot from a high-powered, handheld cannon into the crowd, it’s guaranteed to taste even better.
3. Rundowns: When a base runner gets trapped between first and second or second and third with opposing players guarding each bag and attempting to get the runner out, I’m on the edge of my seat. More often than not, I end up laughing. It’s the ultimate game of tag.
4. Leaping or sliding catches in the outfield: I swear these guys must have been gymnasts or ballerinas in past lives. I’ve seen literal summersaults, and the ball somehow manages to hit and stick to the mitt. Crazy!
5. Oversized, ice-cold beer served in plastic bottles with twist tops: I don’t know why, but beer tastes better this way.
6. 6-4-3 Double Plays: These are so common, but when the short stop fields a ball and tosses it to the second baseman for an out, and then the second baseman guns the ball to first for that out, resulting in two outs on one play, it’s poetry in motion.
7. Watching a pitcher’s facial expressions: At home games, I’m lucky to sit very close to the field with a head-on view of the pitcher. Unless we’re at bat, I’m watching the pitcher. It fascinates me how calm and cool most of these guys remain even in the face of poor performances. When they can’t keep their composure, it’s equally fascinating and sometimes sad. I’ve been known to cry a time or two for a pitcher who’s having a bad day.
8. The grounds crew: When I catch a ride to the stadium with Hubby, I arrive earlier than most fans, and I stay later. Usually this is when I pull out my Kindle and pass the time productively, but I read in between watching the grounds crew prep the field. It’s crazy how much work goes into keeping the dirt and grass pristine. And they’re all dressed alike and move as a unit when it comes to unrolling tarps. Talk about teamwork.
9. Little kids who bring their mitts and desperately want a foul ball: I love watching their faces when a player or the batboy tosses a ball into the rows behind the dugout. It’s pure magic, like the prize isn’t a scuffed up ball of cork and leather at all, like it’s the world’s biggest diamond.
10. The players: What kind of romance writer would I be if I couldn’t appreciate an athlete worthy of a little ogling? On occasion, I haul a girlfriend to the park with me, and it’s one big giggle fest while we pay closer attention to who’s on deck than what’s happening on the field.
Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? If you’re a baseball fan like me, leave a comment sharing your favorite thing about the game. And if you’re not yet a fan, leave a comment telling me which one of my favorite things is most likely to get you to the ball park. The winner of a $25 Amazon.com gift card will be chosen from the commenters. (The winner will also be entered into my grand prize drawing for a choice between ONE of the following: $100 gift card to Sundance Catalog OR $100 gift card to Cabela’s OR $100 gift card to BRAVO! Cucina Italiana. You don’t have to win here to enter, though, just hop over to my site for more information.)
Elley Arden is the wife of a baseball team physician, the mother of three kids, including a high school pitcher, and the author of Save My Soul: Book One in the Kemmons Brothers Baseball Series. She’s considering changing her middle name to Baseball to reflect the familial obsession. 😉 You can learn more at ElleyArden.com, on Twitter or Facebook.