Tagged: baseball

There’s Something About Opening Day…

Yes, I know it’s about a week late, but better late than never, right? As a baseball fan/blogger, how could I not document those feelings of raw joy that I experienced on Opening Day? It is the holiest day of baseball, the pinnacle of hope for baseball fans everywhere. I honestly don’t know why the national government hasn’t declared Opening Day a national holiday. It certainly contains many of the same qualities that other national holidays do. Holidays are all about coming together and celebrating one, unified cause. Isn’t that exactly what Opening Day is? As fans, we may not be rooting for the same teams, but we are still celebrating the fact that baseball has finally returned. 

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(not my picture, don’t know whose, but it’s fantastic… Fenway Park)
The Fourth of July reminds people of why they are proud to be Americans, and similarly, Opening Day reminds us of why we’re proud to be baseball fans. We remember everything we love about baseball, and everything it represents to us. The blind fools who think that baseball is a boring game don’t realize that everything baseball is, and everything that it can represent to them. Honestly, my life is baseball. I think of my life in terms of baseball. I understand things when they are explained to me in baseball terms. I become less hostile when someone brings baseball into the conversation. I speak the word of baseball, and I sincerely hope that you do too. 
It’s hard for me to come up with words to describe everything that baseball makes me feel. I feel like loving baseball is the same thing as loving a person, though I could be way off base here (haha, get it?). From what I can gather, it doesn’t matter whether you’ve loved someone for years, whether you’ve just broken up with someone, you still can’t put actual love into words. I seriously can’t put how much I love baseball into words. I really don’t think anyone can. Live love, it’s just something that you express. If you could put it into words, maybe it would not be as special. Even though I think it’s nearly impossible for the love that we baseball fans feel for our sport, I think W.P. Kinsella comes pretty close. So I’d like to share with you an excerpt from my favorite book, Shoeless Joe
“I take the word of baseball and begin to talk it. I begin to speak it. I begin to live it. The word is baseball. …Can you imagine? Can you imagine? Can you imagine walking around with the very word of baseball enshrined inside you? Because the word of salvation is baseball. It gets inside you. Inside me. And the words that I speak are spirt, and are baseball. The word healed them, and delivered them from destruction. The word makes the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.

“As you begin to speak the word of baseball, as you speak it to men and women, you are going to find that these men and women are going to be changed by that life-flow, by the loving word of baseball. Whenever the word of baseball is brought upon the scene, something happens. You can’t go out under your own power, under your own light, your own strength, and expect to accomplish what baseball can accomplish. 

“We have the word within us. I say you must get the word of baseball within you, and let it dwell within you richly. So that when you walk out in the world and meet a man or woman, you can speak the word of baseball, not because you’ve heard someone else speak it but because it is alive within you. 

“When you speak the word, something will begin to happen. We underestimate the power of the word. We don’t understand it. We underestimate all that it can accomplish. When you go out there and speak the word of baseball–the word of baseball is spirit and it is life

“I’ve read the word, I’ve played it, I’ve digested it, it’s in there! When you speak, there is going to be a change in those around you. That is the living word of baseball. As I look at you, I know that there are many who are troubled, anxious, worried, insecure. What is the cure? Is it to be found in doctors and pills and medicines? No. The answer is in the word, and baseball is the word. We must tell everyone we meet the true meaning of the word of baseball, and if we do, those we speak to will be changed by the power of that living word. 

Praise the name of baseball. The word will set captives free. The words will open the eyes of the blind. The word will raise the dead. Have you the word of baseball living inside you? Has the word of baseball become part of you? Do you live it, play it, digest it, forever? Let [me] tell you to make the word of baseball your life. Walk into the world and speak of baseball. Let the word flow through you like water, so that it may quicken the thirst of your fellow man.” 
So. Do you do this? Do you speak the word of baseball? Does it flow through you like electricity through a circuit? I do. I believe in the power of the word of baseball. I want to share the word of baseball with people who don’t live it. It is better than any medication because of what it is. 
Opening Day makes me think about this idea all over again because baseball has returned. I am cynical and pessimistic during the offseason, but as soon as baseball season rolls around, I am an optimistic, all around happy person. The Red Sox may have more of an affect on my mood than my grades, or anything for that matter, but no matter how mad or upset I may be, there is always the next game. It is the constant. I can rely on baseball to always be there, and it makes me feel safe. 
This year, baseball and Jesus rose aga
in on the same day (or night, for baseball). Coincidence? I think not. I collected Easter eggs (see above), I went to church on Sunday, but I think it was a different church than many of you may have attended. As Annie Savoy (Bull Durham) would say, I went to the church of baseball. “The only church that truly feeds the soul, day in, day out, is the church of baseball.” 
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I also went to church on Monday. I went to Opening Day. All 13 of them. My living room was the baseball hotspot. I had my television, the family desktop, and my laptop going all at once. I had an entire schedule for how I was going to accomplish the daunting task of watching 13 baseball games in one day. At one point, I had nine baseball games going at once, so it was hard to keep up with all of them, but it wasn’t a burden. I watched 12 straight hours of baseball. I probably could have paced myself a little better, but I can truly see myself doing this as a living. I saw some amazing plays and some amazing feats: The night before, I saw the Red Sox rally to beat the Yankees on Opening Night. On Sunday,I saw Lastings Milledge, and Nate McLouth make incredible grabs in the outfield. I saw Mark Buehrle make the most unbelievable play I’ve ever seen. I saw Jason Heyward crush a three run homer on the first pitch in his first at-bat in the Majors (and that was something truly special). And I saw Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a walk-off single to afford the Texas Rangers a win after Shaun Marcum of the Blue Jays carried a perfect game into the fifth. 
I don’t think any of my friends from school truly understand this thing that I have for baseball.They accept it, which I appreciate, but they think I’m a nut. Someday, I want to be able to eloquently articulate the love that I, and many of you, feel for baseball. But until then, I can only encourage you to speak the word of baseball: to live it, to think it, to share it. Believe it. 


Why Baseball Will Endure

In my last entry, we discussed whether or not baseball will endure through this crisis, because this is a pretty big one. Of course we at the blogosphere have been dwelling on it for the past few days, but there are still some unanswered questions, the biggest one in my mind being:

How do we fix this? 
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To elaborate further on that question, there are many different approaches one could take to this. Roy Oswalt suggested virtually throwing the numbers away of anyone convicted or proved to have used steroids. 
A few of us have suggested that over here, but it’s interesting hearing it come from an actual player’s mouth. As far as I can tell from this statement, Oswalt is upset that other players have an advantage over him, when he’s just doing it naturally– like it should be. I have even speculated that we should throw all the numbers away, that they should not be let into the HOF by any means. 
Like I’ve said before, it’s not like we can’t ignore numbers, we’re doing it now, we may not agree with it but we are doing it now. The thing is, Pete Rose is one guy, the Black Sox Scandal was eight guys, but this steroids issue is hundreds of guys. If people thought eight guys was shocking, can you imagine if when we find out about these other players? 
Much as I don’t like A-Rod, it is a bit unfair that he has to take the blame for all of this. That he is the one whose privacy was violated. He set the example by confessing [once the report came out] but why only his name? 
Anyway, there has also been the asterisk method that people have mentioned. Some have suggested having asterisks put next to the player’s names for the rest of their legacies, and some have suggested even installing an asterisk section for people who would be admitted to the HOF, but have done steroids. 
I like the idea of this metaphorical asterisk, but is there an asterisk next to the 1919 World Series? Ken Burns has looked into this idea– it’s in the books that the Cincinnati Red Stockings won the 1919 World Series despite the fact that the eight players who were paid off are forever ignored. That’s a paradox for you. 
Can we ignore numbers yet keep them in the book at the same time? I don’t know how keen I am on the whole asterisk section of the HOF, because they would still be in the HOF. Do we need a separate museum dedicated to the era of steroids users? Maybe we need a museum for the scandals of baseball, the players who are banned yet still have great statistics. 
Back to the question: Will baseball save us and itself? The answer is quite obvious and it is yes. The answer isn’t yes solely because it has endured other scandals in the past. The answer is yes because of what baseball actually is. 
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When I watch the game, nothing else matters to me. Whatever is going on in my personal life leaves me for a couple of glorious hours. I literally get lost in the game. It doesn’t matter that I have a research paper, an English essay, a math project, and a complete lack of understanding chemistry (all of which I am avoiding to write this blog). When we get lost in the game, we tend to forget things that happen outside of the game. Paul Byrd was accused and admitted to doing steroids before Game 7 of the 2007 ALCS. In late 2008 he came to the Red Sox. When he came I was thinking, ‘Do I root for this guy?’. But when I started watching the game, it didn’t matter. I would forget that he had done steroids, and I would root for him without realizing it. 
That is why baseball will endure. 

Can baseball save us?

Once the report was out in the open, A-Rod finally decided to admit to taking steroids and apologize. As soon as I heard this, I thought to myself: ‘Would he have come out and apologized had this report not come out?’. 

Of course not. He has been lying for years– he has been looking people in the eyes and telling them that he is clean. He has created a false image of himself for all of his fans. Everyone believed him too. 
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Well, this apology simply isn’t enough for me, for the owner of the Texas Rangers, and I am sure that it isn’t enough for a lot of you. A report came out earlier today by T.R. Sullivan on Tom Hicks, the owner of the Texas Rangers who said that he felt “betrayed and deceived” by A-Rod. I think that he is speaking on behalf of all baseball fans when he says that. A-Rod literally had this poor guy convinced that he was clean, and HIcks thought that A-Rod was sincere. 
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A-Rod and Bronson Arroyo Game 6 2004 ALCS.jpg
It’s not like this is the first time that A-Rod has lied, he has a bit of a history of lying and deceiving. He lied about deliberately knocking the ball out of Bronson Arroyo’s glove in the 2004 ALCS, and he yelled something along the lines of “mine” to deceive the third baseman of the Toronto Blue Jays in 2007 and he ended up dropping the ball. He even cheated on his wife. 
It is sad that we will no longer be able to know when Mr. Rodriguez is telling the truth because he is a ridiculously good liar. His problem is going to be salvaging the respect of his fans, and baseball fans’ respect. This apology does not cut it. 
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It’s not just A-Rod who is in trouble either, Miguel Tejada may now face up to one year in prison because he lied to congressional investigators. You can lie to Katie Couric, but you can’t lie to the law. According to the report by Alyson Footer, he isn’t even being charged for lying about his own steroid use, rather he is being accused of giving false statements about his conversations with Adam Piatt, who is his former teammate. 
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According to the report, Tejada used steroids in 2003, which helps to explain his miraculous jump in average and hits. Tejada even provided B-12 to his former teammate Rafael Palmiero, which masks steroids. If Tejada used steroids in 2003, then there is no punishment for that, but lying to Congress wasn’t the smartest thing to do. 
At this point, one has to wonder what we do with their statistics. A-Rod used steroids for three years, and it is unknown how long Tejada took steroids. I would think that three years of taking steroids would have a pretty significant impact on the future of his career. If we were to ignore his statistics when he was with Texas, he would only have 397 home runs right now and 1,835 hits. But three years of taking steroids obviously has something to do with his spectacular numbers now. 
Can I ignore A-Rod’s numbers? Can I ignore Miguel Tejada’s numbers? 
Major League Baseball will not be releasing the 103 other names, which makes me a bit anxious. Who are those other players? Who else do I need to put an asterisk by? 
The most important question we can ask ourselves right now is:
Will baseball save us [and itself]?

Tampering with the “faith of fifty million people”

Upon writing my previous entry, I had no idea that the very next morning, a ‘Special Report’ would be on MLB Network about Alex Rodriguez and steroids. I turned MLB Network on to watch Billy Cone of the Mets strike out 19 Phillies in an All Time Game. Little did I know that I would be in for a shock. 

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A-Rod tested positive in 2003 for using steroids, but he was only one of 103 other players who also tested positive. Of course A-Rod is the only one who gets scrutinized. I could barely respect A-Rod before I found out about this scandal, I didn’t like the way he played the game. He would do unethical things like knocking the ball out of Bronson Arroyo’s glove and yell something to make the Blue Jays’ third baseman confused and drop a routine fly ball. That is unethical and disrespectful but steroids goes much, much beyond that. Not only did he do steroids, but he lied about it. 
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Can you imagine what people like Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb would be saying about this? I was just watching Ken Burns’ First Inning ‘Our Game’ today for my research paper and people were freaking out when pitchers would throw curve balls, people freaked out because of the notorious spit ball. This ongoing scandal with steroids needs to stop– it is the biggest scandal since the Black Sox Scandal the way I see it.
Similar to what Julia said in her letter to Bud Selig, if I did drugs in school, I would be kicked out immediately. In fact, kids were asked to leave earlier in the year because of a drug incident. In baseball, they only receive a minor suspension which pales in comparison to the expulsion that Jackson faced, that Pete Rose faces, and that I would face. 
Baseball is special, it is more special to us than anything probably is, or ever will be, but that does not mean that the people who play baseball are allowed to get special treatment. I know what they mean to the game, what they mean to us, but do we really want to degrade the game and ourselves to watching artificial people play the game? That’s not real– that’s not the baseball that I want to watch. I want to watch real baseball. I want to watch people who have not taken drugs to enhance their ability. I know that they want to be the best, and that the pressure is hard sometimes, but so is high school. Couldn’t I cheat on a test to get better grades? Is that any different? I would be giving myself an unfair advantage, I would be cheating myself. I would not be deserving the straight A’s that I would be getting. Baseball players are measured against other baseball players but when I’m applying for college, aren’t I going to be compared against other students? 
People have told me that I can’t just ignore the numbers. I can’t ignore the fact that Barry Bonds has surpassed Hank Aaron’s record, I can’t ignore the fact that Roger Clemens holds the records for strikeouts in a game? Aren’t we ignoring the fact that Pete Rose has over 4,000 hits? There is only one other player who has over 4,000 hits and that is Ty Cobb.
For those of you who have steadily kept up with this blog or for those who are first time visitors, you can tell from the title that I plan on having a job with Major League Baseball. I hope that one day I will be voting on players getting into the Hall of Fame. By then I hope that people who are guilty of doing steroids are ineligible for admittance. If they are eligible then they will not be receiving my vote. 
This is a terrible day for baseball. The integrity of our beautiful sport has been tainted. When a scandal like this happens, it calls for reform. I’m not saying reform the game itself because the game is beautiful. I’m saying reform what’s going on behind the game. This is a bold statement but, anyone who has ever done steroids should be ineligible for the Hall of Fame ballots, regardless if it was in 2003 or 2007. They found out about the Black Sox Scandal two years later and they still enforced punishment. Pete Rose gambled after he was a player and he is still banished. No one is going to take this seriously unless some serious consequences are enforced.
The sad part is that this time, it’s not gamblers who are tampering with the “faith of fifty million people”, it’s the players. 
I’m sorry baseball fans, 

New Edition: ‘My Daily Dosage of Baseball’

I am not sure if any of you realized, but my ‘Prime 9’ (enjoy the pun Metsmainman) only had eight topics. My mistake, but to those of you who were wondering, ‘what the heck is number nine’…

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Lowell’s Recovery
After being the MVP of the 2007 World Series, Mikey’s numbers dropped, and he did not even play in the ALCS. I think the reason for that was his troublesome hip. His range over at third base was minimized, and his batting average dropped to .274 and his RBI total was diminished. Mike has had surgery this offseason, and according to some sources around the web, his rehab is going very well. I cannot believe that I forgot him after vying for his place on the team as the Red Sox pursued Mark Teixeira. 2009 is Lowell’s year to show the Red Sox that he is not done just yet! I think he has the ability to show us all that it was well worth it not picking up Teixeira. 
My Daily Dosage of Baseball
I think I’ve decided to dedicate this section of my blog to any baseball conversation(s) that I have throughout the day. Today, Mr. Gedeon, my gym teacher from last semester and I talked about the Mets. 
Gedeon: So we [the Mets] got Oliver Perez
Me: Yeah, for the same price as Derek Lowe! 3 years, $36 million…
Gedeon: Yeah, but I would rather Perez than Lowe
Me: Really? But Perez has been known to be inconsistent…
Gedeon: Well, kind of.. but at random times. And you know when he’s off, like if he’ll walk six people or something
Me: Yeah, Dice-K does that sometimes in the first inning. He always manages to get out of it unscathed though. You guys could still get Ben Sheets
Gedeon: Yeah, that would make me happy, I know they’re talking to him.
Me: Yup, but the Rangers are in the mix now too… You guys could be getting Manny Ramirez… potentially… maybe…
Gedeon: Yeah, I wish… 
Me: I don’t know, I don’t really see it happening
Gedeon: Yeah… well he could always go back to the Red Sox
Me: No, he’s not coming back
Gedeon: Don’t you miss him?
Me: Yes… 
Here is where I launch into my story about how I made a statue of his head in seventh grade, and how it hurts me every time to look at it! If you haven’t heard, Manny turned down a 1 year $25 million dollar contract from the Dodgers. I also had this conversation with my friend Cloe. She was appalled that anyone could decline $25 million, but as I replied to her, Manny does think that he is God’s gift to the baseball world. 
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I think we all know why Manny declined this deal– he wants to go long term. I think that he would be willing to settle for less money, but more years. I don’t understand why he wants to be tied down so badly, he tends to get tired of places pretty easily. This has not discouraged either side from negotiations as they are still talking. Where is Manny going to go? 
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Apparently, an offer from the Nationals has been sitting with Adam Dunn for a while. It does not seem like he is too eager to head over there. If no one else has offered him anything, it looks like he may have to settle. 
Baseball has come back faster than I expected it would. In about a week, pitchers and catchers will finally be reporting to their respective Spring Training camps. As soon as the Super bowl ended, baseball officially took center stage. For some people, March is about college basketball’s ‘March Madness’, but for us, it’s all about Spring Training. How will you guys fill the void until it officially begins? 
The Latest Leaders came out today from this past week. Julia is number one!! I think she deserves a huge congratulations from all of us, and I think we knew that it would only be a matter of time before she would be number one. She is such a wonderful, hardworking blogger. 
I dropped down to number 17, but I suppose that happens with blogging inconsistently and an annoying week. Regardless, I am always honored to even be in the latest leaders. My dedication will be coming soon! Thank you all for reading, and congratulations if you were on the list!!

A Cornucopia of Dumb Baseball Questions


As writers, we have to realize when we make mistakes. That was one of the lessons in Mark’s J-Blog School. In my last post, I posted a MLBlog definition that you guys all helped me with. Even though it was a great definition, I think we were just defining the fan blogs that we read. Julia and Bigpapi72 recommended that I send it to Mark, and I did. It was within his response that I realized our mistake. “MLBlogs are whatever people want them to be… Do not try and define the indefinable”. 

The thing is, we weren’t looking outside our realm of fan blogs. We forgot about Alyssa Milano’s blog, we forgot about the baseball cleat advertisements that keep beating us out on the rankings list (I feel your pain COB), and so many more! Anyway, Jen was partially right in attempting to define MLBlogs as a community. At least there seems to be “one constant” (there are endless ways to use this pun) throughout any type of blog on here: baseball!
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I feel like this week I’ve been bombarded with stupid baseball questions. You guys will be appalled when you read some of the questions I heard this week. To these people’s credit, they do not know anything about baseball, but still… 
I was in my history class talking about the MLB Network and how I have the Red Sox 2007 post season run on DVD and how I’m always watching it when I hear the question:
Haven’t you seen these games already though?
Me: Well, yes but..
[We’ll use the alias Bob]: So what’s the point in watching them again if you already know what’s going to happen
Me: Well, first off I haven’t memorized the score so I don’t know EXACTLY what’s going to happen. And I can focus on certain players. I can see the look in JD Drew’s eyes when he’s about to slam a 3-1 pitch with two outs in the bottom of the first into dead center field. Something in his eyes that is different from the rest of the season.
Bob: Okay, okay… So on this MLB Network do they show the Bill Buckner play
Me: *shudders*. Yes, they play it quite often actually. Did you know that Dwight Evans has never watched the replays of that play? 
Bob: Wow. [This was actually a sincere wow, and yes, I explained to him who Dewey is].
Then, in my Life Skills class, we’re learning about setting goals, and we get this handout, and on the top of the sheet it says: Yogi Berra. Sure he played for the Yankees, but still, it’s baseball! We’ll use the alias Steve for this one.
Steve: Wait, who’s Yogi Bera?
Me: *slaps hand to forehead*. Steve– Yogi Berra played for the Yankees in the 1950’s. He caught Don Larsen’s perfect Game 5 of the 1956 World [I’m cut off]
Steve: OH! Is this where Yogi Bear came from? This sounds like something he would say
Me: NO! Yogi Bear and Yogi BerrA are two totally different people! 
Finally, today in math, my math teacher was telling me how he has been watching Ken Burns’ baseball series on the MLB Network. Bob once again asks why I’m watching baseball when it’s not even baseball season. 
Aside from these appalling baseball crimes, Jonathan Papelbon signed a one year, $6.25 million dollar deal! He is now the richest, first-year arbitration player ever. Papelbon brings more than just his pitching stats to the table. 
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He has this ridiculously intimidating stare. He takes a deep breath, and then faces Varitek, and narrows his eyes and puts his mouth in an ‘O’ shape. He’ll either nod or shake-off pitches. Then, he hurls the ball 90 something mph and blows it right by some of the best hitters in baseball! 
Then there’s the dancing. After winning Game 7 of the 2007 ALCS, Jonathan Papelbon came out in his boxers and did this… Irish step dance to ‘Shipping Up to Boston’ by the Dropkick Murphys. 
He is also part of the notorious Bullpen Band (called the Black Pearl right?). He has an unparalleled intensity on the field, but is a humorous guy to hang around with in the clubhouse. 
Papelbon and Varitek.jpeg
Papelbon also had some very nice words for the only catcher he has ever known. His captain, the one and only Jason Varitek. 
There’s certain players in Major League baseball . . . that you take a gamble on, whether it’s age or whether it’s money… Varitek is, no question about it, in that category. Whether it’s a money issue or whether it’s an age issue, there’s no question in my mind whatsoever. You make that gamble with a person like that. It’s that simple to me.”

So, it’s not just me, and JULIA and BIG PAPI who are willing Varitek to come back, he means A LOT to his players as well. 

I had an RSBS moment today! During my history quiz, on the bonus question (which I honestly cannot remember), among the choices were:
b. Jeffery
c. Allen
Too bad I was the only one LOLing at this. 


Thank you MLBlogs, and Happy Thanksgiving

It’s that time of year again, time to get together with family, eat, and be thankful for what we have. For those of you who live anywhere but Florida, the leaves are changing, and the weather is getting colder. Down here in Florida, although various cold fronts come through, it’s nothing spectacular. I have a lot to be thankful for, and I hope that you guys do too.

I am thankful for my family, they’re always there for me, and are supportive of my blog, which I just told them about. Plus, my dad’s side of the family is the reason why I’m a Red Sox fan, it’s a tradition, and that’s important. If it wasn’t for my dad, I wouldn’t even be a baseball fan. The greatest gift he will ever give me, is the gift of loving baseball. 
I am thankful for my friends, even though some of them don’t understand my love for the Red Sox, and make fun of me for blogging. They’re always there for me though, and the ones that do support my blog, like Christina, it really means a lot to me.
I am thankful for baseball. It brings people together in a way that nothing else can. The way people are, the way relationships that we have, would be totally different in some cases if baseball didn’t exist. You never know what’s going to happen, it changes every night. You could love someone because of baseball, or you could hate someone because of baseball, but at the end of the day, we’re all baseball fans. 
I am thankful for the Boston Red Sox. The emotions that I feel when I walk into Fenway Park, which is only about once a year, are indescribable. I would never be able to thank them enough for all that they do for me. There’s so much history to the team, painful history admittedly. And just watching every game, every night, is just the best thing in the world for me. I can forget about everything else that has ever happened, and only think about the game. I live with them, and I die with them, and I always will.
I am thankful for the people that read my blog. Words can’t describe how much it means to me that people are reading and sending me positive feedback on my blog. I’m so surprised that I’m the featured blog of the week, I never expected that when I came onto this site. This site is awesome, it doesn’t matter who you are, or even who you root for, we can all put our differences behind us (and by differences I mean different loyalties), come together, and just talk about baseball. Thank you guys SO much. 
I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!