The Longest Day of the Year

Living in the Northern Hemisphere of the planet I tend to take several things for granted. The northern star Polaris, the big dipper, the fact that summer occurs from June through September, and of course the Tropic of Cancer.

I have no idea what the Tropic of Cancer is besides just a line on a globe but I know that nobody from the Southern Hemisphere can claim it as theirs so it must be important. As a card-carrying member of the Northern Hemisphere, I am obligated to say that the shortest day of the year occurs on the Winter Solstice while the longest day of the year occurs on the Summer Solstice.

That is not to say that the actual time in a day is longer or shorter but rather the amount of daylight that makes up a day varies between winter and summer. From the first day of winter the amount of daylight gets greater each and every day until the first day of summer when the trend decreases.

Scientifically I am sure that is probably true but from a baseball fan’s perspective that is definitely false. Although I do not have any scientific proof to substantiate my claims I am fairly confident that all the days from the end of the World Series until the beginning of Spring Training are all the longest nights of the year.

Those off-season days just seem to drag on forever. It doesn’t take very long until you can’t tell one day from another, they all just seem to blend together into one pointless day.

When the Cactus League games begin in the spring, the teams are on a five-week crash course of baseball where they play every single day leading up to Opening Day. Well, every single day except one.

Today was that one day for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Since they began playing games on March 4th they have played games every single day. In fact there were two days where they actually played two games in a day thanks to the “split-squad”.

I am sure players and coaches will tell you that is a lot of baseball and in many cases too much baseball. From a fan’s perspective there is no such thing as too much baseball and if I had my choice I’d be happy of this went on all year long.

So when I woke up this morning and looked at the schedule and realized that for the first time in the 2010 Cactus League the Diamondbacks did not have a game, I felt a cold shudder from the leftover winter chill my whole body.

For one 24-hour period this spring there would be no Diamondbacks baseball. It was one of those times when you just wanted to crawl back into bed and pull the covers up over your head and pray for a coma.

Throughout the day I saw happy people wandering around the valley wearing their team’s jersey or hats. There was joy on their faces and a bounce to their step. How could they possibly be so happy when the home team’s stadium was dark?

I’d love to say it was just a bad dream but I have a whole arm of bruises where I pinched myself that say otherwise. I don’t care what scientists say, March 23, 2010 was the longest day of the year and one I never want to have to live through again.


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