This year, baseball's promises will be kept
Baseball, like the swallows, is again moving north. It is spring and the national pastime with its civility and elegance is arriving in Montana just in time.
Our four-month winter is over and, hopefully, so is the recent public frustration shadowing a few of Montana's student athletes.
Baseball, despite doping allegations about some of its players, is, nonetheless, a curative played on green fields under warm afternoon high skies.
As the majors celebrated opening day, we here in Montana are eager to take our seats and watch the young professionals play out their dreams of moving up to the Bigs. Many of us grow young again as we toss the ball around on grass brown from winter's sleep and smile as April's wind carries our fungoes deep into center. Arms still stiff from winter's chill are limbering up for that long throw from third to first.
Hurry baseball … with your hot dogs, Cracker Jacks and that win in the bottom of the ninth. Come with the spring as you always have — you boys of summer, princes of sport who leap and whirl, throw and slide with such grace as to restore our pride in athletes and those who train and manage them. Baseball came down to us from the teeming streets of the big cities, the sandlots of the Midwest, and from the New York Knickerbockers club in 1854 when the rules, majestic in their simplicity, were drawn: three bases, home plate, three strikes and yer out!
Each season baseball makes millions of promises to both fans and players, and we just know they will be kept. But … the hard-throwing rookie who finally makes it to the Diamondbacks may, after only a heart-breaking few games, be sent down. A pulled hamstring, a separated shoulder, a loss in the playoffs will dash the hopes of players and fans; and the spring promises of the Rangers or Yankee and others may be jerked away.
But not this year. This season the promises will be kept. Take your sun-soaked seat in the ballpark and just you wait and see.
(Pat Williams served nine terms as a U.S. Representative from Montana. After his retirement, he returned to Montana and taught at The University of Montana.)