The NFL, NBA, and MMA have all surpassed Major League Baseball in terms of growth, following and excitement — but, there is something about baseball that won’t go away…
In 2012 I was working on a documentary with Miami Marlins 1B/3B Casey McGehee (who ended the year with the New York Yankees) and was in Houston for a game against the Astros. (Long gone were the days of baseball card trading and rooting for my hometown the San Diego Padres.)
It was July and McGehee’s team was in the midst of playoff run. As my cynicism for baseball was at an all time high, I suddenly had an invested interest in McGehee and his team.
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After hitting the press box for a seventh-inning dinner, the film crew and I headed back to the field press area. And just like a movie, the Astros were up a point in the top of the ninth inning with two runners on base and McGehee up at the plate.
(Now, let me tell you my grown man’s heart was thumping like a little kid again and I had that same feeling deep down, when my favorite player Tony Gwynn would be up to bat.)
I made sure my cameraman was rolling and was covering every pitch thrown to him at that at bat. Each time McGehee swung, I felt like my heart pop out, yearning for him to hit a home run each time. That home run didn’t come, and to fast forward, he was finally walked and two runs would come in and they would beat the last place Astros that night.
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Doesn’t sound like much excitement, but if you were there, rooting for your team or a player you were interested in — that same feeling you had as a child would come back. I guarantee you…
Well, spring training 2014 has started on Valentine’s Day and baseball is in the air for MLB teams at their temporary homes in Arizona and Florida.
This year will signal an end to an era, as New York Yankees Captain Derek Jeter has said this will be his last year in baseball as a player.
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“The 2014 season will be my last year playing professional baseball,” Jeter said. “I have achieved almost every personal and professional goal I have set. I have gotten the very most out of my life playing baseball, and I have absolutely no regrets.”
The Yankees shortstop is a five-time World Series champion and is the Yankees all-time leader in hits, games played, stolen bases and at bats.
Even though I would consider the Yankees as my least favorite team, the 19-year-veteran has always been a class act and played a vital role in each World Series he has played in. It’s easy to dislike a team that seems like they win every time, but that doesn’t take away from the greatness of Jeter or his team.
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So does baseball still have a stake in major American sports today? You better believe it, as players’ contracts are still guaranteed (unlike the NFL, MMA) and players are still receiving $100 million dollar contracts.
It might not be America’s pastime anymore, but as games start being played, you’ll be sure to see them on TV screens across the nation.
The good news? We will be covering every major headline in baseball this year.
The bad news? Your favorite childhood team might be on the losing end of the good news.
David Kano is lead MMA writer for TVMix and MMA Show News. Kano will now be covering the sport he first remembers as a child — baseball.
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