Catz's Corner: Opening day edition: What is Baseball?

Lets play Ball! PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 14: A look at the stage just before Jonathan Papelbon of the Philadelphia Phillies arrived to discuss his four-year, $50,000,058 contract, at Citizens Bank Park on November 14, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Len Redkoles/Getty Images)

Editors note: Kudos to Rasing Phillie Fans for astutely correcting me. Baseball crosses genders, race, religion AND (if you are Chase Utley) the space time continuum.

Welcome one and all to the innaugural edition of Catz's Corner, a weekly, Let me be realistic here, Bi-weekly at best, oh who am I kidding Why put a schedule I can't promise out there continuing, Op-Ed opinion filled rant from a purely phanatical mind. The opinions expressed in Catz's Corner are neither approved, spell checked, or condoned by the editors and blog lords at The Good Phight, but hey, that's what happens when you let the inmates loose in the asylum.

I thought long and hard about what to do with this first edition. Should I dissect Chase Utley's arthritic knee? Posit on run differential and small ball?? Discuss how Cain's extension affects Hamels? Can Thome play 3 times a week? Who can we trade Dom Brown for? Should we even bother sending Galvis and his sub .300 OBP out there?I mean really, why bother playing 162 games if the end result is already written in the stars?

You know what? Screw all that. Baseball starts today. We're undefeated, the hypothetically fictional window is neither open or closed, and more importantly, BASEBALL STARTS TODAY. I'm pumped, I'm excited and I can't figure out why! Why am I so damned excited? It's just a game, right? Right?

Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona. ~George F. Will, Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball, 1990

Not according to George. And not according to Catz. Certainly your idea of baseball is different, but for me, and others here, its so much more. Baseball, specifically Phillies baseball, is a bond between fathers and sons parent and child. A way of communication. Its art in its highest form. Its poetry. The crack of the bat is music, and the deafening sounds from the stands our ears. Sing with me, Wet Luzinski. Sing deep and from your gut. But how deep should we sing?

Baseball is not necessarily an obsessive-compulsive disorder, like washing your hands 100 times a day, but it's beginning to seem that way. We're reaching the point where you can be a truly dedicated, state-of-the-art fan or you can have a life. Take your pick. ~Thomas Boswell, Washington Post, 13 April 1990

Deep. I have a sickness. And it goes further than just being a Phillies fan. I've spent more time playing fantasy GM in the past two weeks than I have doing real work. I think that's because I'm seriously jonesing for my fix.

Don't tell me about the world. Not today. It's springtime and they're knocking baseball around fields where the grass is damp and green in the morning and the kids are trying to hit the curve ball. ~Pete Hamill

No honey, I don't want to talk about why Rick Santorum is the devil. I want to talk about Freddy Galvis. I want to scream through the television and tell him that the pitch breaks AWAY from him. USE YOUR HIPS FREDDY! take it the other way!

People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring. ~Rogers Hornsby

179 days. 4,296 hours since the big man fell, along with our hopes of happily ever after. That's how long I've been staring out that window. Well, I live in Florida too, so I spent time at the pool in December, but you get the gist. To me Spring brings hope. Eternal hope. Every team has a shot, every rookie can be the next Willie Mays. Domonic Brown is going to learn how to catch a fly ball, and this is the year that Kyle Kendrick is finally going to put it all together. So sayeth Catstradamus people.

There are three things in my life which I really love: God, my family, and baseball. The only problem - once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit. ~Al Gallagher, 1971

I told my wife we had to change dinner plans tomorrow night. Opening day and all. her response was "Is it October yet? "In mere days I'll have the game on the TV, with statistics up on my IPad, while live commenting here on the game thread, probably taking notes at some point to do a recap. When I was asked to be a contributor this season, my first thought was "AWESOME!" My second was "I can't tell my wife. she'll kill me." But there are things we do for love in this world, that just can't be explained. I mean, we've waited months for this, right?

The other sports are just sports. Baseball is a love. ~Bryant Gumbel, 1981

Don't get me wrong, I love my wife. I love my kids. Love is a word I don't take lightly. I love my country too, I love black cherry ice cream and a perfectly grilled steak, but I REALLY love my Phils and I love baseball. Win or lose. Hit or strike out. World Series or not.

Baseball was made for kids, and grown-ups only screw it up. ~Bob Lemon

FIP and BABIP. Injuries and lineup holes. WIP callers and stupid trades and WAR be damned. I love all that stuff too, but deep down inside? I love baseball because it makes me feel like a kid again.

I woke up this morning and Joey said to me "Daddy, guess what? It's April 4th. only 1 day till the Phillies play! I'm not going to be able to sleep tonight I know it."

Think about that for a second.

He has no idea who Freddy Galvis or Joe Savery are. No concept that Chase Utley may never be the same, or that Ryan Howard might not ever be able to push off his back foot properly again. He could care less about luxury taxes, and whether or not it was wise to pay Papelbon, or how Hamels fits into that equation.

But you know what? He knows we're going to a REAL phillies game, his first, at the Bank in July. he knows we're playing the Braves. He knows he's supposed to boo with passion when Chipper steps to the plate. he's got it marked on his calendar, and crossing off the days. On that Sunday, when Galvis dives up the middle and backhanded flips to Rollins to turn two; When Papelbon strikes out Chipper Jones with the bases loaded up by one, he'll know that. he'll appreciate it, and he'll want to be him. (Paps. Not Chipper. I'll kill myself if that happens.)

I don't care how long you've been around, you'll never see it all. ~Bob Lemon, 1977

I almost passed on the opportunity to go to a Marlins game two years ago, because I didn't want to drive two hours. If I hadn't gone, I'd have missed Halladay's no hitter. Last week I almost left a spring training game in the 6th inning. I stayed, and saw Anthony Gose swipe second, third and home. Thats happened a handfull of times in the history of the game. Sometime this season, you'll see something you've never seen before too, and so will I. Buckle up and enjoy the ride.

With those who don't give a damn about baseball, I can only sympathize. I do not resent them. I am even willing to concede that many of them are physically clean, good to their mothers and in favor of world peace. But while the game is on, I can't think of anything to say to them. ~Art Hill

Neither can I Art, neither can I. (Are you listening Mikey Mizz?)

It's hard to win a pennant, but it's harder losing one. ~Chuck Tanner

You know whats even harder? Losing a pennant before a pitch has even been thrown. At the risk of getting too preachy, I think sometimes its easy to forget that osing is a part of life, but winners never quit. Ever. People surprise you. I for one, look forward to the surprises this season. Like Worley last year, and Mayberry. If you buy in to the doom and gloom, If you think you have a magic crystal ball, I have a bridge to sell you to South Jersey. Or, better yet, you can just jump off it and save me the trouble of scolding you all year long. I'm resolving myself to not worry about next year, when this year hasn't happened yet.

It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. ~A. Bartlett Giamatti, "The Green Fields of the Mind," Yale Alumni Magazine, November 1977

For Phillies fans, I think this rings truer than most, and honestly, who can blame us? The losingest franchise in the history of professional sports, right? I'm gonna let you guys in on a secret.

Prepare for heartbreak.

Win or Lose. Even if by some miracle of odds the stars line up and we win the World Series, there's a good chance that feeling, on that day, will immediately be replaced with "It'll never be this good again." Thats our nature. The window is closing.To that I say this.

Whatever. - Cliff Lee

So set yourself up for the heartbreak, but savor the moments. Let the great winds of baseball engulf your soul and drink it in. drink until you are drunk with joy. then go ahead and puke. You'll feel better in the morning. I leave you with my favorite baseball quote of all time.

I believe in the Church of Baseball. I tried all the major religions and most of the minor ones. I've worshipped Buddha, Allah, Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, trees, mushrooms and Isadora Duncan. I know things. For instance, there are 108 beads in a Catholic rosary and there are 108 stitches in a baseball. When I learned that, I gave Jesus a chance. ~Ron Shelton, Bull Durham, 1988

Folks, believe in the church of baseball. Pray to the gods, like Wandering Moses if you like. If you have kids, take em to a game. don't give up on baseball, cause baseball never gives up on you.

Now lets PLAY BALL!!

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