Today I met Mets fans Neil and Laura, both of whom are daily readers of MetsBlog.com. Their 4-year-old son is outgoing, confident and full of energy. He was hitting a small ball with his dad between fields and got the attention of a few players, all of who stopped and smiled watching him 'work.'
Later, Chris Young finished batting practice and entered a dugout to get some water. The boy began talking to him.
"I play first place," the little guy said through the fence. Chris Young sat down next to him. The boy proceeded to tell him how he hits. Chris Young explained that he plays center field. The boy said he played center field, too.
"I wish you could come out and shag some balls with us," Chris Young said. Then, over his shoulder, down the cage, another fan barked, with a disgruntled tone, "I think we have enough average center fielders on this team."
Thankfully, I don't think Young or the boy heard what was said. It was a stark reminder of what baseball can mean through one set of eyes compared to what it means to someone else.
This little boy is everything I love about spring training. It's a time to just watch baseball -- no pressure -- and enjoy the show. There is time for cynicism and analysis, but this child is a reminder that there is also a time to be innocent and have fun...