“You look forward to it like a birthday party when you’re a kid.” – Joe DiMaggio on Opening Day
As I type this, tomorrow is the official start to baseball – it’s MLB Opening Day! I’m a huge baseball fan. Chris and I have experienced Target Field, Wrigley Field and (soon) Fenway Park together. Growing up, my dad took us to see the Twins, Cardinals and Rockies for summer vacations. At the lake, we’ll often turn on a game while out on the pontoon. And my bachelorette party in a few weeks – yeah, we’re going to a Twins game.
Oh I love baseball, so Opening Day is one I look forward to every year. If you’re reading this after Opening Day, lucky you – baseball is back!
Because I also love to compare running and fitness to everything else in life I love, I’ve come up with five similarities between Major League Baseball and running.
1. Clothing Counts
Warning: Seinfeld reference coming. Remember the episode where George petitioned for the Yankees to wear cotton uniforms? He thought the fabric would be cooler and thus, more comfortable for the players. While well intentioned, George being, shall we say, less than an athlete, had no idea what he was doing. And remember how horribly that turned out?
Cotton, while the fabric of our lives, is just as a nasty word to a runner as it was to that Yankees team. Just as baseball players need to wear the right uniform and fabric, runners need proper attire for best running performance, comfort and enjoyment.
2. Inclement Weather? Psh, what inclement weather?
Baseball players don’t get a day off because it’s chilly or raining. They bundle up and deal with the elements to do their job. Imagine how much harder it is to hit a fastball or make a great play when your vision is blurred from rain, your hands are cold or the entire field is wet. They still make it all happen.
Even though most of us aren’t professionals, dedicated runners will brave any condition to go for a run. Cold, wind, rain – not much gets in our way. We still make it happen.
3. Playing Favorites
Every baseball fan has a favorite player. For me, it’s hands-down Denard Span (we miss you in Minnesota, Span!). Growing up, it was Kirby Puckett. In my 20s, I went through a Jonathan Papelbon phase (giant tool, yes, but man could that guy close). Even as players change thru the years, fans still always have a favorite.
Most runners have a favorite runner too; one they admire and want to be like, or one that they just enjoy watching compete. For me, it’s Carrie Tollefson because she’s a kickass runner, Olympian, marathoner, and a supercool person (I know her and can attest to this). Also, Kara Goucher is high on my list, as is recent Boston Marathon champ, Meb Keflezighi.
Runner friends, even if you don’t have a favorite runner like a favorite player, chances are you at least recognize one of the names I jus threw out.
4. All the Food
Baseball games are known for hotdogs, ice cream, unnecessarily large portions of nachos served in a helmet – pretty much everything a person knows better than to eat in normal life but will indulge in at a baseball game. And it’s totally valid to do so. I’ve been known to get a giant pretzel with, what can’t truly be described as actual cheese, follow it up with some cheese curds, and wash it down with mini donuts. Something I’d never eat for lunch on a typical day but at a baseball game, it’s on.
When runners are logging a lot of miles, we need food. And we’ll often eat with a little more flex than when not running. Most runners will openly admit to going a bit overboard but, again, it’s totally valid.
The MLB season packs in 162 games for every team. That’s a lot of games in one season.
Runners, think about how often you run. Every other day? 3 days a week? Sometimes more, sometimes less? I’m just throwing this out there, but it might work out to 162 days out of the year! For the fun of this blog, let’s go with that.
One final note before we close out to go enjoy the start of the season: GO TWINS!!
Who else is excited for opening day? Comment with a favorite baseball family tradition, memory or game you’ve attended. Or, tweet me your favorite team so we can trash-talk throughout the season! Find me on Twitter @runlikeagirl311.