A very wise person once told me that baseball is not a game; it is a disease. To echo exactly how true this statement is for yours truly, a look at the definition of disease is in order. The Oxford …
A very wise person once told me that baseball is not a game; it is a disease. To echo exactly how true this statement is for yours truly, a look at the definition of disease is in order. The Oxford Dictionary defines a disease as “a disorder of structure or function in a human, animal, or plant, especially one that produces specific signs or symptoms that affect a specific location and is not simply a direct result of physical injury.” Baseball, at least for me, is most definitely a disease.
What are the specific signs and symptoms of what we will call “Baseballitis” going forward? These can vary from one infected person to the next, but an obvious symptom is “Playoff Anxiety.” The signs of this are obsessive pacing during the later innings of a close playoff game, increased “chirping” at an umpire for calls that the infected disagrees with and walking backwards to the restroom as to not miss a play. Another symptom of Baseballitis is when the infected person plans their upcoming week around a myriad of baseball games. Those in the advanced stages of the disease tend to follow a few different teams at various levels. For example, someone who suffers greatly from this disorder may go to a youth game, townball contest and both minor and major league games all in one week. If they are also caught watching a game on television or live streaming the local cable channel while in the car… they have baseballitis.
The game… I mean, disease is contagious, but it appears some people built up an immunity to it over time. Maybe they were never exposed to it at all, which to those infected would all agree is a shame. People with the disease are always willing to expose others to baseballitis, with hopes that their friends will catch it and then, return the favor by purchasing a cold beer or two as a sign of their gratitude. There are also some who simply do not want anything to do with baseballitis and feel it would be a terrible waste of their time. As the same wise person said, “some things cannot be fixed, even with duct tape.” That wise person was my mom. This was normally said when she could not find the duct tape because I used it all trying to fix things. The specific location is a ballpark. Bill Veeck said it best. “The most beautiful thing in the world is a ballpark filled with people.” Those with baseballitis totally understand this statement. The sites, sounds and smells at a ballpark are addicting. From the older gentlemen who just goes to the ballpark to keep score in his little scorebook to keep himself sharp, the kids chasing foul balls to maybe make a couple bucks to spend at the concession stand to the smells of hot dogs, burgers and of course popcorn permeating the air, baseball is so much more than just a sport played by 18 guys between the white lines of a baseball field. The area outside the white lines is where those of us infected with baseballitis really “suffer” from the affliction.
Unlike most diseases, there are lifelong effects to coming down with baseballitis. Sure, you might gain a few pounds, especially during the playoffs with an extra run or two to the concession stand. This can easily be taken care of with a little extra exercise walking backwards to the restroom. Your blood pressure may spike a few times during a pitchers’ duel or when your right fielder jacks one out of the park that still may be in the air, but even these things are not that bad. It has been proven by years of detailed analysis and statistical data collection that those unable or unwilling to become infected with baseballitis is due to “IDUtG Syndrome.” “I Don’t Understand the Game” Syndrome is easily overcome by finding a person that is already infected with baseballitis. These folks are always willing to share their knowledge of the game, and most are patient when infecting rookies. The best thing about baseballitis are the many chances to Get Out and Enjoy the Great Outdoors. Hope to see you at a ballpark soon.