The Beauty Of Baseball: Giants And Dodgers Fans Coming Together

Photo by Nico Melendez

Baseball season is upon us.  For those who enjoy Spring training more than the regular season, sorry. It’s over. The real thing is here.

As I get older, my anticipation for opening day is still alive, but not like it used to be. The opening day anticipation isn’t how it used to be. But, as a Los Angeles Dodgers fan, I have a lot to look forward to this season, I think.  Given that last season ended in Game 7 of the World Series, personally I’m hoping for a return to the Fall classic.

But opening day for me isn’t how it used to be.  I don’t know the starting lineups like I used to, not really sure exactly which day or field my team starts, but I know some people who do have all of those details: Our kids.

Last weekend, I had a rare opportunity to spend some time talking baseball with my young nephew, a die-hard San Francisco Giants fan. Even though I’m a life-long Dodgers fan, it gave me chills to hear his excitement for opening day.

Much like I did in the 1970s and ’80s, he knows every trade from the off season, and knows the starting lineup for almost every year he has followed his team.  He’s as excited about Andrew McCutchen joining the Giants as I am about Yu Darvish leaving the Dodgers.

So, rivalry aside, I’ve found my new favorite nephew.

My own five kids have never been too excited about baseball, probably because like so many others, the game is too long, too slow and lacks the game-long excitement like basketball or football.

So for years, almost 30, my boxes of baseball memorabilia have sat in plastic boxes, making the trip from Navy duty station to Navy duty station, home to home, garage to garage, storage unit to storage unit.  My collectibles have had more homes than the Dodgers have had rookies of the year, which is a lot.

Finally, after all of these years, my collectibles will find a home.

Beyond that though, my wife, as an elected official, had a chance to throw out the first pitch at our local Little League in February.  Those kids, all decked out in the latest batting gloves, cleats and Big League Chew in their pocket really took me back.  That want to be and look like a big leaguer.  Waiting for that first home run and win of the season.

I think our national pastime is in good hands.  With kids like my nephew, athletes like those players and supporters like those parents, I know our game has a bright future. And thankfully, we have great volunteers on Little League fields around the country to make it all work.

I look forward to the season, almost as much as these kids look forward to theirs.

Time to play ball and swing for the fences.

Enjoy the season.

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Photo by Nico Melendez
The Lake Elsinore Little League administrators pause during opening day ceremonies with City Councilwoman Natasha Johnson and the author’s wife, State Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez.  The crew arrived at the field at 5:00 a.m. on opening day to prep the field after an overnight rain.  Little League works because of volunteers.

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