Life is a constant tug of war. On one end you are pulled by the things that you have to do. If you are anything like me (and I hope for your sake that you’re not), you get a lot of help from everyone telling you want you “need” to do.
On the other end of the rope is the list of things that you want to do. In my case there is really only one thing at this end of the rope and that’s baseball. During the off-season the need-to-do rope is dragging your sorry self through the mud and laughing about it all the way.
Starting with the day that pitchers and catchers report and going through the end of the World Series and maybe even through the Arizona Fall League you can thumb your nose at the need-to-do end of the rope.
It’s kind of like just before the referee drops the flag to start the tug of war you motion to the sidelines and big old Willie Mo Pena steps out from behind the bleachers and grabs the end of the want-to-do rope. You pretty much don’t even have to be there when you’ve got Willie Mo Pena on the anchor.
Today I figured I would test that theory. I got up early and snuck out of the house. I didn’t leave a note, a forwarding address, or an itinerary. I just hopped in the car and pointed it down the road.
As soon as I got out of earshot of my wife I cranked up the stereo and when the Chase Field roof opening music came on I rolled down all the windows and opened up the sunroof. While the majority of the country was huddled around a furnace or fireplace hoping to stay warm I was cruising the road without a care in the world.
I didn’t really have a plan, I mostly just needed to get away and baseball seemed like the perfect escape. All around the valley there were Spring Training camps getting ready to open. For the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks they are already deep into drills getting ready for the season.
There is nothing quite like the sound of a leather baseball snapping into a freshly oiled glove or the sound of Northern Ash striking a ball in the sweet spot. It’s hard to believe that outside of Florida and Arizona there would be fans that will have to suffer for another six weeks before they would get to see baseball again.
At the end of the day I came home exhausted and happy. It looked like Willie Mo Pena held up his end of the tug-of-war rope but he definitely didn’t do me any favors with my wife. She immediately asked where I had been the moment I walked in the door. Let’s just say I had to see a man about some horsehide.
I can’t do this too many times otherwise I’ll find my picture posted on a milk carton. If that happens, I’d suggest starting the search near a ballpark. There’s probably a pretty good chance you’ll find me there.