Baseball is on the horizon

The television -and the winter sports scene -is dominated by basketball.

The biggest football game of this year, or for that matter, any year, is just a week away.

While those are great sports with huge followings, it was the Cincinnati Reds caravan coming to town Saturday that got me the most excited, if for no other reason that it served as a reminder that baseball is just around the corner.

Yes, it’s a slow game, one of the few sports where there is no play clock, shot clock or any other kind of clock for that matter.

In a world that likes to run on schedule, baseball is one of its few untimed events.

Two hot hurlers that don’t take much time in between pitches can complete a 1-0 game in under two hours.

Two teams with hot bats that send the opposition deep into its bullpen can make a nine-inning game that started at 7:05 go past midnight.

That’s part of the majesty of baseball -you never know what to expect.

That last statement isn’t entirely true. Fans of many teams know exactly what to expect when the season starts.

They know there is virtually no way in Hades their favorite team is going to qualify, yet alone contend, for a playoff berth. Why?

Because either it doesn’t have or is unwilling to spend the money to be a contender.

Yes, you can spend your money wisely and stay in the pennant race.

But at some point, the odds are the teams that spend like drunken sailors will fill virtually all their needs and move to the top of the standings.

Baseball lacks parity. Teams like the one I have rooted for all my life -the Chicago White Sox – enter the 2014 season with no chance of winning a pennant, making the playoffs, or for that matter, having a winning season.

More than any other sport, baseball is divided into the haves and have-nots.

Yet, even if your team falls into the latter category, hope always seems to spring eternal that this just might be the year when all the stars align perfectly and your team gets to fly the World Series flag and drink that champagne that’s been on ice for far too many years.

It was a tribute to the Reds that so many of their loyal fans came out on a nasty winter morning to see their favorite team’s manager, announcers, stars and mascot.

I got to spend a little one-on-one time with first-year manager Bryan Price and it didn’t take long to figure out why he was so impressive in his job interview with Reds management.

He made a huge first impression and had me believing the Reds just might be the team flying that World Series flag and drinking that champagne come October.

While the snowballs were flying on Saturday, we’ll soon be watching fastballs, curves, slurves, sliders and even an occasional knuckleball. I can’t wait to hear “Play ball!”

Contact Dave Poe at dpoe@newsandsentinel.com