Full disclosure: I love baseball so much I will watch even the absolute worst movie if it somehow involves baseball. [I won't even bother trying to be funny here by saying "I'm looking at you, ..." because you could insert THAT many terrible baseball movies for that joke to land. But, I will cut you off and outright deny your existence as a fellow human being if you bitch to me about how slow and boring a sport baseball is. That, however, is not this argument.
Every year, read that back again slower. Every. Year. Local news outlets and networks devoted entirely to grown men and women playing games will “announce” the inevitable four words that are never more inconsequential than when drolly pronounced aloud together:
“Pitchers and Catchers Report”
It’s always the same line. There are slight variations in delivery — like calling Hitler “Adolf” or “Der Führer” makes you special—“Pitchers and Catchers Reporting” or “Pitchers and Catchers Report today” or “Pitchers and Catchers Report for duty.”
For the uninitiated, “Pitchers and Catchers Report” signals the start of spring training and thereby baseball season.
Here’s the thing: “Pitchers and Catchers Report” basically amounts to saying “Professional Athletes Show Up for Practice.”
Or “Grown Men Paid to Play a Game Get Ready to Play That Game.” It’s not news.
If it were reported back to their home planet by alien beings (with no idea about baseball), the broadcast transmission would sound something like:
“Today, a number of adult men assembled on a field of grass with a ring of dirt surrounding a pile of dirt on one end. Wearing matching garbs that resemble what young children go to sleep in and a head cover with a long face shade in the front, they moved their bodies on the ground in strange positions to “warmup” or “stretch” for this activity. Most of the time was spent with two men pairing off to throw a ball back and forth. After a couple hours, they left.”
I am as excited for baseball as the next girl. But we need to stop back-patting and ass-slapping these guys who are not saving the world. Yes, baseball plays a long season that includes 162 games a year.
Just for reference here: basketball and hockey teams play 82 games a year, soccer teams rack up 34–38 (depending on your side of the pond) and footballers play just 16. (Yes, they feel dreadfully much longer! That’s because it’s 11 minutes of actual playing time — read again: 11. minutes.—spread across 3 and a half hours of commercials and a break in play during the middle because…¯\_(ツ)_/¯?)
So yeah, baseball teams should practice for “the long haul” of playing a game that lasts 3.5 hours for almost half the year. Why not. Even though they are very likely already working out year-round. And yes, they do a lot of traveling, which can take its toll on the body, sure. But, let’s put this into perspective:
Police officers are technically “on” year-round, firefighters and EMT too, working anywhere from 8- to 24-hour shifts. Add doctors, nurses and paramedics to the list of people who must show up or be ready to work for most of the 365 days in a year. And when they work, they are saving lives. Mental health counselors, caregivers for the elderly, homeless shelter and food pantry volunteers are just some more people who “report” for work. Oh, and teachers. Teachers. Teach. ers. Thank goodness for teachers.
Show me a news segment come September when “Teachers and Administrators Report.” And I will stand, hand on my heart, and salute THAT flag one helluva “’Tis of Thee” because of THEE I sing.
Until then, hold off on telling me two guys had tossed balls today. I’m sure even they have more important things to do.
For the Love of a Long, Hot Shower 🚿
Close the door. Take off all your clothes. Breathe deep. It’s about to get real steamy in here.