I missed you.
You’ve called me a player, you now call me a coach, but before and after both of those, you’ve called me a fan. Thank you for giving me the group of young men I coach to get me through this hard time. Without my Force Ohio team, regardless of our record, I surely would’ve gone mad these last four months. But as our travel season winds down, it is finally time for the ultimate stage of America’s pastime, MLB.
This season will be different, sure. No minor leagues, no trips to the bars downtown to hear the echoes of the crowd from scenic Progressive Field, our favorite players spread throughout the lower level of stands to social distance themselves and masks and face-coverings galore.
No matter how different it may seem, it’s you, baseball, and for that I’m thankful. Because I missed every bit of it.
I missed the feel of sitting down on the couch at 7:05 p.m. every night and hearing your voice, seeing your face, and feeling the emotions you put me through on a daily basis.
I missed watching long home runs, nasty curveballs and outstanding defensive plays. I missed second guessing managers, cursing at middle relievers and being reminded by opposing broadcast teams of heartbreaks my team endured.
Honestly? I even missed blown calls, terrible strike zones and cellar dweller teams. Heck, I even missed you, Joe West.
I missed loving my squad, the Indians. Although in the midst of a potential name change that is probably the right move, I’ll represent whoever takes the field in the 216 until they put me 6-feet under. That loyalty, I learned from you, baseball.
I missed hating teams. Like the New York Yankees (Sorry Seven), the San Diego Padres (don’t ask) and my new favorite team to hate, the Houston Asterisks, I mean TrasHTown Astros, I mean the Houston Astros. Weird little slip there, huh? Not sure what happened.
I learned how to deal with failure from you, baseball. You taught me that bloop singles and line drive outs tend to even each other out, so don’t get caught being too high or too low, because you always knew how to keep me humble. You taught me that failure is a part of life, and how you deal with failure will define you as a ballplayer, but also as a person. And in a year that has seen more than our fair share of failure, you taught me that slumps don’t last forever, no matter how much it may feel like it. Sometimes you just need to bide your time and wait. Wait for the next page to turn in this novel of life. Because in both life and baseball, you can’t kill the clock. You need to play and live every moment and keep digging because the greatest in both games make their own luck.
So when the country is at odds over pandemic, racial tension and all sorts of other impending problems that I’m in too good of a mood to list, thank you, baseball. We need you now more than ever. I missed you.
But now, the missing is over. The waiting is over. All the questions; “when and where?” how many games? What will the testing procedures look like? Will there be fans? They’ve all been answered, maybe not how we wanted or expected, but answered nonetheless.
Now it’s time. Time for a 60-game sprint to the finish with expanded rosters, taxi squads, and artificial crowd noise.
Will it feel weird? Sure. Am I still going to get blitzed on Friday when the Indians take on the Royals? You betcha. But isn’t that what this is all about? Returning to a sense of normalcy during these crazy times but making a few concessions for the greater good, right? Ultimately, this season is going to come down to health. Stars are going to get sick, and people are going to call this a tainted season because of it. Truthfully, I don’t care what you call it. Tainted, asterisk, misleading, whatever. I’ve heard them all and I reject them all.
As I write you, it’s Opening Day, — a holiday in my book — and it may be a few months late, but you’re here. You made it back, and I can’t wait to see you.
Welcome back, baseball.
All my love on behalf of baseball fans everywhere,
Tommy “Coach” Carosielli
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