Seizing The New Baseball Season

It’s that time of year again, folks.

That’s right, late February brings a lot to the world of sports—the SI Swimsuit Issue, NBA wheeling and dealing, “bubble” speculation, the SI Swimsuit Issue, fantasy baseball chatter, the SI Swimsuit Issue—but few moments leave an impression like this.

This has been with us for years. Before it happened to you, it happened to your dad. It happened to your granddad.

It’s the time you’re browsing the net—your dad checked the paper—on a cold, gloomy day and your mind wanders to baseball. “I wonder when the colleges start playing,” you think, shivering in the darkness.

Letting curiosity take hold, you look it up. A couple of weeks? Next month?

Then it hits you like a cement truck.

The University of Texas is 12-2.

You start to feel dizzy. “I don’t understand,” you say to yourself, feeling your cold sweat gradually freeze. Maybe this is the wrong year. The wrong sport. Maybe that 12-2 is a typo.

But your eyes scan the rest of the page. Arizona State is already 9-2. “It can’t be!” you say. Cal State Fullerton is 6-7. Stanford? A nice, tidy 10-2.

You’re gasping for air. Florida State? Give me 7 wins and 3 losses. Arizona? Ring up 5-4-1. Florida Atlantic?

Show them what they’ve won—10 games without a loss!

Your confusion gives way to envy, then self-pity. The numbers don’t lie. Baseball has reached the Sunbelt, MLB pitchers and catchers reported last week and your weatherbug reads “28 degrees.”

But then the voice of reason comes to you like a warm breeze. Here’s why.

For one, way before baseball is ready for Harvard, Harvard will be ready for baseball. Sure, the air temperature may be about 15 degrees too cold for the warning level on an average Omaha XS CB404 nitrogen-packed scandium bat—watch out for possible WMDs, people. And sure, sunflower seeds may be out of season.

But the Crimson baseball team has been practicing, competing with track, ultimate Frisbee and soccer for control of the Gordon Track and Field Center, while two JV baseball players were recently seen throwing a ball inside a nearby squash court.

And at least the squad has got a place to go. Like the Florida Atlantics and Arizona States of the world, Harvard begins playing sooner rather than later—in this case, flying south in little more than a week. On March 5, the Crimson opens a four-game weekend set against Texas Tech and Air Force in sun-scorched Lubbock, Texas.

Two, we’ve got a diversion those suntanned Sunbelt-ers don’t: college hockey. Women’s college hockey. If you’re just joining us from Neptune, go see a weekend series. It’s the stuff that will make you pine for more winter days.

Three, there’s nothing you can do about it—the weather, that is. But that doesn’t mean you’re powerless.

Take the squash court example. It’s simple, really. Wipe the cobwebs off your mitt, get your roommate and pack it for Hemenway. You’re ready to go.

On sunny days, chuck the ball in the Yard, the MAC quad, or the Quad. Ignore terrified, icy glares from alarmed passers-by. Keep chuckin’.

In the spirit of Harvard baseball, think about other ways to “usher in” the spring season on your own time. Put away the ski cap and bust out the sweat-stained ball-cap. Deactivate weatherbug. Put on your shorts. Refuse to wear a jacket.

Harvardians should soak the rays when they possibly can—and the coming weeks will gradually bring promise, chirping birds and, best of all, the dizzying aroma of wet-cut grass. But springtime, like baseball, doesn’t have to wait.

So instead of inducing ulcers about the Sunbelt’s good fortune this February, open your arms and take spring as you may. Baseball is coming soon, and there’s nothing Mother Nature can do to stop it.

—Staff writer Alex McPhillips can be reached at rmcphill@fas.harvard.edu.

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