I have a confession to make. While all you puck-heads eagerly anticipate the upcoming postseason in college hockey, my mind will most likely be elsewhere: on the comfortable confines of a grass-covered diamond thinking about ERA and RBIs and how I could possibly convince the Red Sox to give me season tickets on Ben Affleck’s lap. Or as it’s known to more common folk: baseball.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m just as excited as you are for this playoff hockey extravaganza, especially to experience rooting for a Division I team in a nationally-recognized tournament.
But the question is, would I rather be freezing my butt off watching America’s pastime, keeping score on an old-fashioned score card and watching the seasons change from winter to spring? Absolutely and unequivocally yes.
So color me aggravated, or any other adjective synonymous with “outraged,” when a few weeks ago while I was looking at Boston University’s collection of spring sports, I couldn’t find baseball on that list. It had to be a typo or some other kind of erroneous omission, I thought, because surely BU, one of the most prominent universities in a city notorious for its baseball obsession, had a baseball team, right?
Wrong. Baseball was nowhere to be found. (And that’s when I started crying. Just kidding, but not really.)
Now remember, March marks just the sixth month that I’ve called Boston my home, and it’s the first time I will experience the spring, so forgive me if this is old news for you. But just to reiterate: BU, whose campus is mere minutes away from Fenway Park, does not have a baseball team. How is this possible?
We do have a club team, one whose existence has been on and off since the late 1980s and which, up until recently, has fought to achieve legitimacy among the BU community. On the club’s website, it says that baseball has struggled to gain its footing at BU because of “New England’s blustery Marches and Aprils.”
And yet, softball, baseball’s female equivalent and an entirely outdoor sport, seems to have minimal problems maintaining its program. They’ve won eight America East titles, twice in the last two years, and have appeared in the NCAA tournament five times.
This isn’t my way of publicly denouncing our club baseball program, because a club team is an entirely acceptable substitute with extremely talented athletes, and in all honesty, what good would complaining do? Clearly, it’s all we’ve got at the moment and it doesn’t look as though that situation will change anytime soon, as we’ve learned with the uphill battle football has faced at BU.
It’s just mind-boggling to me that a university based in a baseball town would not go to extraordinary lengths to ensure that the sport remained affiliated with the school. And Boston isn’t just a baseball town; it’s a city whose heart lies in the power of its sports teams. It’s what made this place so alluring to me in the first place.
After all, any city that changes the pattern of lights on its tallest building to spell “GO SOX” is truly dedicated. You’d think that BU would have caught on to the infectious nature of baseball.
Look at any other local Boston school and you’ll see that baseball is just as integral to its athletic program as any other sport. Harvard University, Northeastern University, Boston College, Tufts University and University of Massachusetts all have baseball teams. And excluding Northeastern, all of those schools have football teams as well.
Baseball is everywhere on this campus, whether we like it or not, and I’m not talking about the ubiquitous Red Sox jerseys.
Does the name Harry Agganis ring a bell? You know, the guy whose name and statue adorn the arena where our men’s hockey and basketball teams play? Guess what sports he played? Yup, football and baseball. How ironic that those two sports are entirely disconnected from the school now, and what a shame.
I’m sure there are many other problems that are over my head concerning the issue of bringing baseball back to this school (money, money, and oh, money), but to put it bluntly, I really don’t care. Baseball has always been, and always will be, my favorite sport, and I want people to be able to experience it, especially in the beautiful Boston spring. Just to put this in perspective, my former community college in California had a baseball team. Behind much, BU?
Sure, we have the Red Sox playing around the corner, but rooting for professional athletes is an entirely different experience than cheering for kids who could be sitting next to you in your Statistics class. (Plus, I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t have to pay $300 to see the BU baseball team.) Oh, and did I mention that the Red Sox sometimes play their spring training games against college teams in Boston?
In the meantime, I’ll get my baseball fix through the club team, but a part of me knows it’s not the same. Baseball, please come back to BU. And hurry.