In first person: Joe Kelly tells fans to ‘don’t forget baseball’ amid lockdown

Appeal: Don’t give up on baseball. This is very important.

I understand. You delve into the millionaires versus billionaires conversation that has dominated this season, looking for signs that baseball is coming back to life: pictures of sunglasses-wearing players tossing baseballs under palm trees, talking about promising starters or players who deserve a second chance. But none of these loyal signs of spring are here due to the closure of Major League Baseball. I do not blame you. This lock looks like the straw that breaks the camel’s back and one tends to turn one’s back to the game. The usual criticisms of baseball appeared. Baseball is slow, out of the loop, selfish, and steeped in traditions that no one can remember anymore. Yes I understand. The game is trying to maintain your loyalty for years. Enough.

But it’s time to take a break and understand that baseball is great, and the same critics who love to undermine America’s premier pastime know it. They know that baseball can inspire, delight, and define three quarters of a year. They value the game, and so they don’t agree with the way things are. Is money at stake? No, what is at stake is the game itself. And I, with my friends from all over the world of sports and entertainment, are on a mission to save him.

They say baseball is boring.

Joe Kelly, right, poses with his Dodgers teammates as they visit the White House on July 2, 2021, to celebrate the 2020 World Championships.

(Julio Cortez/The Associated Press)

absolutely yes. Our society has come to love instant gratification, and the idea of ​​baseball, the game of people’s thinking, isn’t exactly where most sports fans would like it to be. I understand. I was the type to not want to take the time to read the book, but I just bookmarked the Spark Notes summary so I could move on. This is exactly what is happening now.

For some, all the business and beauty of baseball should be summed up in tweets and Instagram stories. It’s so much more than that, and it’s a lesson I’ve learned.

Life-changing battles that can become memes on and off the field. He unleashed a tidal wave of emotion from the hill on the stage of the World Championships. Defining lifelong relationships with late-October hugs at Dodger Stadium means it all. For me, it was all thanks to baseball.

It may not seem like an emotional match to you. Lots of time standing. Picking flowers outside. Talk, talk, talk, wait, wait, wait. So, boom! Heart rate rises for a few seconds. Then the cycle starts again.

That’s the hit, okay. But let me tell you that baseball can bring the kinds of excitement that life rarely does. And just when you think you’ve discovered those feelings, something you weren’t expecting comes along.

I know because it happened to me.

Baseball has given me a lot of wake up calls. Perhaps this is the time for all of us.

This should be a reminder that baseball is a whole book, not just a sentence.

Baseball is unlike any other sport, as you can often watch the final minutes of a game and get to know the gist of it. NBA? NFL? NHL? What you see is what is available. There is nothing wrong with this. The fast pace, the focus on something in motion, and the season made for TV, it’s all tailored to today’s fans. tennis? It’s a little more complicated and that’s okay. Baseball makes you think. It makes you talk. Questions are asked and answered. Why is this player doing this or that? And when the answers come, the world always looks a little better.

If you are patient enough, you can see that baseball is a mixture of chess, ballet, classroom, and cannonball.

When you watch the bat flips, the strikes, the home run catchers and the laser shots from the field, it’s easy to remember all the feelings. But it is not so easy when we are flooded with news of collective agreements.

We can’t let this conversation go to waste. We have to be diligent here, working hard to pave the way for more sports fans to understand the importance of what baseball stands for. This is not Amazon. I can’t order a dose of October Postseason drama, put it on your doorstep, and quench your thirst for instant gratification. Baseball doesn’t work like that. And that’s good, it’s better than okay.

So why is this message so important to me and my fellow baseball players? Because we may be at a crossroads. The momentum of 2021 has been fantastic, younger fans, heightened excitement, and a real feeling that a new generation is starting to care. We are now at an impasse.

It’s where we belong, and for fans, it’s a place where we can forget about work and the business side of life and just be. To begin the festivities, colorful tacos and seven months of chaos. It’s the place where players can be characters and not just numbers. Let’s not forget the pomp of it all. We have to trust that when the game comes back, it will be better than ever, because we will appreciate it more. I honestly believe it.

All I ask is that while we wait, don’t forget why you care so much. Don’t forget why you have that player’s shirt. Don’t forget why you’re wearing that baseball glove in the game. Don’t forget why you feel the need to ask these questions and get those answers. Don’t forget why baseball is so cool.

I did not and will not.

Kelly is a Major League Baseball player who won the World Series with the Red Sox. From Boston in 2018 and with the Dodgers in 2020.

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