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Monday, April 03, 2006

Play ball!

Ah, opening day! There's no need to ask: Of what? The baseball season is under way and all is well with the world. Even President Bush recognizes it. He was to throw out the first pitch today at the game in Cincinnati. Of course, baseball purists would insist that he should reserve that duty to the opening game in Washington, which his predecessors did for seven decades and which he did when the Expos/Nationals relocated there last year. But the Reds' new owner was one of Bush's partners in his Texas Rangers ownership days, so it's payback time.

Why do we love a game that critics find so boring? Because it's not defined by a clock but rather 27 outs (in a normal nine-inning game). Getting 26 will not do, so there's always hope if your team is behind. So many plays demand offensive and defensive execution at the same time. And any one of them may be the turning point.

Unlike other major sports that must be watched on TV, baseball also works on radio and now on the Web. The focus is on the pitcher, the batter and the fielders. You know where they play, so all you need is to follow the ball. For the next six months plus the playoffs, we baseball fans are ready for the action.

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