A long hard winter followed a long and difficult year, and - as Lance Mannion so eloquently puts it - stress takes its toll: "When our thinking gets un-well, our bodies feel it. We get sick."
And so we turn to baseball, that game of inches and carefully measured feet that perfectly branded its rules and rhythms on us as children. The simple and basic plays, the sounds and smells of the game (even in upscale new stadiums), the thinking and strategy between pitches and innings.
And spring. Pitchers and catchers. Intrasquad games. Exhibition tilts. That sure-fire prospect or the comebacking starter who all the writers say "is throwing the heavy ball this spring." Sandy Koufax trying to fix Ollie Perez's delivery and his psyche - the mission impossible. Yet we're back and despite the gathering darkness on the landscape, we're pulled toward the game once again - even the steroids and supplements and salaries can't turn off the baseball habit.
This year, Jason Chervokas and I are adding a new pitch: we've soft-launched A Train Baseball, a new blog dedicated to New York baseball, from the turn the 20th century to the match-ups for tomorrow's game. Here's how the pitch arrives:
A Train Baseball is a new website dedicated to New York baseball, from 1900 to tomorrow’s game. If you like Oscar Gamble, Cleon Jones, Strat-O-matic, real stirrups, stories about John J. McGraw, Reyes triples, Jeter professionalism, Seaver fastballs, Ruthian clouts and pinstripes in two shades – well, pull up a bar stool and join the conversation.
We're not completists, and we're not stat hounds or hard-core fantasy gamers; you can get that elsewhere. In some ways, we're romantics when it comes to baseball - we actually, kinda, sorta believe in the daily redemption available at a distance of sixty feet six inches. So expect a range of posts.
We'd love to see you over there. And that pic? That's our blog mascot: one Charles Dillon "Casey" Stengel, circa 1914 with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Says it all.