The boys of summer have returned

Chris Duprau

“Take me out to the ballgame, take me out to the crowd. Buy me a cold one and a $25 hat. I don’t know why AL pitchers don’t bat.”

Ok, so I may have changed the words slightly but the meaning is still the same, baseball is back.

Now despite my somewhat impressive psychic powers I’m not going to tell you who the winners and losers will be this year, but instead let you, my loyal readers in on 10 things you can look forward to this season.

1. No more talk ever again about the “Curse.” Sox fans and all baseball fans can rejoice. No matter what, there won’t be consistent talk about the Curse of the Bambino and 1918.

Now, I was as happy as anyone that Red Sox nation won and got the monkey off their back, but the whole curse thing was as tedious as the line to get food at Brownies. Thank goodness no more curse talk….that is unless you’re a Cubs fan, in which case, ignore the last paragraph.

2. Thanks to the lovely effects of aging and possibly no longer taking “juice” we will not have to deal with Barry Bonds for much if not even all of the season. This could actually mean that the records of Babe and Hammerin’ Hank stay safe, at least for a little while. Barry brought all of this media scrutiny on himself and he deserves all that he gets. Here’s to hoping for a long absence.

3. Once again amazingly I get to listen to my favorite announcer this year. Ralph Kiner has been broadcasting for the Mets since they began.

For those of you who don’t know, that was 1962. He is so old, so crazy and so hilarious. He’s practically senile and one year on Fathers Day he said, no lie, “On this Fathers Day I’d like to wish all you fathers out there a very Happy Birthday” Treeemendous.

4. Radio + Cold One +Pool floatation device = Good times for all. Baseball is the sport that goes the best with radio. Having the announcer paint the picture with words while being outdoors on beautiful summer day is fantastic. Being next to your pool on a Sunday with a cold one and perhaps a bunch of steamed clams makes it even better.

5. One thing I wouldn’t count on this season is having the number of HRs go down. Despite the steroid testing, I still expect overall HR numbers to go up slightly, not due to steroids, but that is just how things work. Even last year the first time there was some steroid testing, HR numbers went up.

What you won’t see is the big 70 and 60 HR numbers put up. There will be a greater number of 20 and 30 HR hitters though mainly because the players are bigger and stronger then they were a generation ago. Even before the steroid age HR numbers usually went up every year. So if you see a lot of HR this season, don’t think steroids. Just think things are back to normal.

6. The Braves will finally not win the Eastern Division. Now I realize people have been saying this for years and they keep on winning. Well, just like on the roulette table if it comes up black so many times in a row, it’s due to come up red eventually. Unless it hits 00 in which case all hell breaks loose.

I know they got Hudson and he’s really good, and supposedly Smoltz is going to make the transition for closer back to starter relatively easy, although I have serious doubts. I just say the division is too talented.

Florida came on strong last year but due to a zillion hurricanes were forced to play a ton of double headers and ran out of gas. Throw in the new look Mets and it’s a pretty darn formidable division. I want the Braves to lose for many reasons but mostly due to the fact that Larry Jones named his son Shea, because he always kills the Mets. I hate Larry.

7. Baseball Tonight. Seriously this show is great: Karl Ravech, Harold Reynolds and the god of stats and info, Peter Gammons. I feel more informed after this show then I do after my Senior Project group meetings. Web Gems, Long Balls and updates all together, what’s not to love?

8. One of my favorite things this year will be making steroid jokes about the Yankees. I mean, two of their biggest free agent signings of the past three years were on the juice. No wonder they kept on winning.

I hated this team with passion already, but when you throw in that they were cheaters, that just kicks it up a notch. If one Yankee man starts making comments, I’m just going to let loose.

9. Going to the ballpark. Baseball is the only sport where it is still a reasonable price to go see a game. I’m going to the Mets-Phils game the 18th for $22, not bad at all. Beers and food are pricy, but that can all be fixed with a good pre-game tailgate. Throw in the atmosphere of the ballpark, especially these new ones (Citizens Bank is incredible), and you have yourself a great night for a price someone in college can afford.

10. Baseball = Summer. All the other main sports have the majority of their season during the school year. Not baseball. Baseball means beautiful days, good times and no 10 a.m. classes. Baseball means Memorial Day Weekend, 4th of July, Labor Day Weekend and those trips to the shore that you Jersey/PA people seem to love. So embrace baseball, love it for the summer, and if you get sick of it just remember, football training camps start in August.

There you have it 10 things to look forward to this baseball season. There are probably more, but I only have so much room to write.

Next week, the hockey playoff preview…oh wait there’s no hockey. Ok, I’ll do the basketball playoff preview. Until then keep on keepin’ on.