Cherry blossoms and daffodils, even morel mushroom all announce the end of winter, and the start of spring. This means all of this and baseball as well, America’s pastime.
For more than a century and a half, dating to the 1830s, spring and summer have meant baseball, and this year is no different. Whether Little League, that summer ritual built for kids, or the high school game, with its big league feel, or even the Major League version, with its epic runs to the thrill and heartbreak of October, baseball provides something at every level for every fan.
This season expects to offer more of those thrills fans look for, while also providing some news opportunities to enjoy this classic.
One new team in Northern Michigan is the Traverse City Pit Spitters, the region’s newest entry in the Northwoods League, which also includes teams from Battle Creek and Kalamazoo, as well as Waterloo, Iowa and Bismarck, North Dakota, among others. The Pit Spitters, who take over Wuerfel Park from the Beach Bums of the Frontier League, open at home on May 28 against the Green Bay Booyah. Play in the Northwoods League continues through early August.
Other notable openers include the beginning of local high school action, including Petoskey’s first game against Gaylord St. Mary’s on April 12, Harbor Springs against Rudyard on April 8, and Boyne City up against Bentley on April 5.
It is not only the boys’ baseball teams, however, getting ready to open their 2019 campaigns, but the girls’ softball squads as well. Local high school softball gets underway in early April also.
Local Little Leagues push back their opening day until after school lets out, with this year maybe more complicated, owing to weather delays and interruptions, and the likelihood of an extended school calendar.
Major League Baseball is also ramping up for the new season, with the Detroit Tigers set for opening day at Comerica Park on April 4 against the Kansas City Royals, with returning starters such as Nick Castellanos and Mikie Mahtook, as well as newcomer Josh Harrison. The (multi) million dollar question for Tiger fans is what can we expect from Miguel Cabrera, the well-paid slugger who missed a good many games last season, but still makes opposing pitchers plenty nervous.
Baseball is a rite of spring, ushering in the warmer temperatures and longer days, suggesting summer is only around the calendar’s corner now. So whether you cheer for little leaguers or big leaguers, professionals or amateurs, get ready to enjoy some of America’s favorite pastime.