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In our sun-down perambulations, of late, through the outer parts of Brooklyn, we have observed several parties of youngsters playing "base", a certain game of ball...Let us go forth awhile, and get better air in our lungs. Let us leave our close rooms...the game of ball is glorious.

          Walt Whitman, July 23, 1846 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle



I've been writing about baseball professionally since 1995. Fourteen years. Certainly I'm one of the luckiest people who has ever lived. Barring another providential lightning strike, I'm never going to be rich monetarily. But the fact that I've been able to make a fair living doing this makes me among the 99.9% luckiest people who have ever lived. I think about that every day.

Still, when something that was once a hobby done out of love becomes your job, it can lose some of the emotional spark. This is especially true for me during the late fall and winter, when I spend most of my time in the basement office working on the book.

Today is a chilly day here in Lawrence. It's not supposed to get past 40 degrees, and there is a stiff wind. I'll spend most of today in the office, working to finish a big research project and watching some games on TV. Not a textbook Opening Day at the ballpark.

But Opening Day nonetheless, the true First Day of Spring. I'll be heading out on the road for scouting trips soon enough, and will remember once again that our game is not just numbers on a page. It is fresh air. The smell of grass. The crack of the bat. The roar of the crowd. Our game.