Baseball: Love the game, not the business

Published: Mar 01, 2014 14:48pm EST
By Sonny Long, Sports Writer for Konsume Sports

Please Note: This article was updated Mar 01, 2014 @ 03:45pm EST

 

I grew up loving baseball and still love the game.

I, as well as my two brothers, played baseball in high school for my father. A few years after his death in 1992, the baseball field at our school was named in his honor.

My first favorite player was Mickey Mantle. I loved the way he played – his power, his speed, his defense.

I can’t say that I’ve always loved the “business” of baseball. The strikes, lockouts, skyrocketing out of control salaries – all soured me on the business of the game. As much as I loved the action on the field, the strategy and the athleticism, the business side of the game nearly drove me away from it.

Once I was old enough to understand regional loyalties, the Atlanta Braves became my favorite team (growing up in Georgia). Hank Aaron, of course, was a favorite, then Dale Murphy and Chipper Jones.

When I moved to Texas in the 1980s, I also adopted the Texas Rangers. One of my fondest memories when I lived in Dallas is a visit from my father and older sister (also now deceased) and we took in a Rangers game. Don’t remember that much about it except having lunch at Bobby Valentine’s restaurant and my sister fawning over Pete Incaviglia.

More recently, I’ve continued to pull for the Rangers and Braves and this off-season was crest-fallen when Brian McCann left for the Yankees and Ian Kinsler was traded to Detroit. Two players I cheer for and love the way they play now don the uniforms of other teams.

That’s another thing that has taken some getting used to – team hopping. No one stays with one team anymore, with a few exceptions of course, the aforementioned Chipper Jones, the Yankees Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, Todd Helton of the Rockies.

So do I just quit liking McCann and Kinsler? I’m certainly not going to pull for the Yankees and Tigers, not in the same league with the Rangers.

I understand business is business, but I don’t have to like it.

Seeing Jacob Ellsbury playing for the Yankees, Robinson Cano for the Mariners – the list goes on and on – we just have to accept that’s the way it is these days.

One player I will pull for no matter the team is Drew Stubbs, now of the Colorado Rockies. I covered Stubbs in high school in Atlanta, Texas, cheered him on as a fellow Texas Longhorn (and they won a championship while he was there).

Stubbs is with his third team in his six-year career, starting with Cincinnati, spending last year in Cleveland and now with the Rockies. He is an exceptional defender and has had flashes of brilliance offensively – 22 HRs, 77 RBIs and 30 SB in 2010, 40 SB in 2011 – but he strikes out way too much. I was watching the game on TV in 2010 when he slammed three homeruns against the Cubs.

But no matter where the business of baseball takes him, I’ll pull for Drew Stubbs. Loyalty is something I value highly.


 

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Sonny Long
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