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SARA BERTSCH: New baseball experiences bring up more unanswered questions

I’ve been to my share of sporting events. Football? Never miss a game. Basketball? Yeah, I’ve been to quite a few. Volleyball? For sure. Track meets, golf tournaments? They are on the agenda. But, baseball?

Now, I’ve been to a few baseball games before, but I’ve never paid much attention. This week, I’ve attended more baseball and softball games than I have in my entire life. For some people that may be a big shock, but its unfortunately true. Now I’m usually taking pictures, which means I’ve got my eyes on the action the entire game. I never miss a play – or at least I try not too.

Anyway, I’ve gotten to learn quite a bit about America’s Pastime, however, I still have some questions and I would appreciate some answers.

First off, why does everyone eat sunflower seeds at all baseball games? I’m not judging because in fact, I bought a bag and brought them with me to the past few games. It’s become something that everyone brings. I suppose there must be a rule somewhere made so long ago, nobody questions it. Rule #1,234: Thou shall not enjoy the wonderful sport known as baseball without thy seeds of a sunflower to spit unto thy ground.

Also, why are they always cleaning off home plate? I understand that the players and umpires should be able to see it when runs are being scored, but do they really need to see each sparkling white corner of home plate? I’m waiting for the day they forget to clean it off and a small peewee player comes running in and starts circling the catcher looking for home plate.

Finally, is there a phrase or word for when a ball goes foul that they can yell other than ‘heads up?’ Golfers yell ‘fore’ when they slice the ball or really lose control of it to inform others that they should look out. So, why doesn’t baseball have one? I mean, ‘heads up’ works fine, but I think if golf can have a phrase, so should America’s Pastime. It could even be ‘I hope you have car insurance.’ People would really pay attention if the umpire started yelling something about insurance. I know I ‘d go check my car for baseball-sized hole in my windshield after that.

But in all seriousness, I’ve really come to enjoy baseball lately and I am learning a lot about the sport. I even caught myself cheering for the peewees the other day during their game. One little boy even hit a ball that bounced over the fence. That’s better than I could ever do.

I encourage everyone to come down to all of the baseball and softball games, from the little peewee games to the amateur games, because it truly is fun and a good way to spend your time.

So for now, I will ponder these questions while attending more games this week. Feel free to stop by and answer my questions. I’ll be the one eating sunflower seeds, holding an enormous camera and watching for stray baseballs to hit my car.