One of my fondest memories as a child was traveling to my father’s baseball games. He played on a local farm team for the Cardinals (no longer in existence) and even did a brief stint with the Arkansas Travelers and Memphis Redbirds. There is nothing like being woken up before dawn to pile into the car and begin a baseball road trip…the lukewarm coffee in an old silver thermos, the brown paper bags filled with dry cereal and the anticipation of the upcoming game. It’s what kid’s dreams are made of.
I’ve been a baseball fan since then and it’s always been more than just a sport to me. I hate watching the games on television because I don’t get the same effect (although if it’s a landmark game I’ll do it) and have always either preferred to watch it live or listen to it on the radio. The Cardinals are my team and when I was little I could tell you everything about every player. When I moved to Texas I watched the Rangers play but never got the same feeling as I did with the Cardinals. But don’t get me wrong – the Rangers have a gorgeous ballpark and I’d return for the ambience alone at any given time. I worked there during the 1995 All Star Game at the park and I’ve honestly been to no comparable ballpark….it’s just stunningly built. But the fans? Ranger fans seem to be 100% fair weather fans and that bugs me so I lost my zeal for baseball for several years. In 1998, with the McGwire/Sosa race for the most home runs in a single season I felt myself pulled back into the magic that is baseball.
With the season right around the corner it was perfect time to take in the new Cardinals exhibit on display at the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock. It’s a fairly small exhibit but the amount of information they pack into it is amazing. For people who know little about baseball to those who are true fans, there will be something for everyone.