The crack of the bat: Baseball is back!

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The 2014 college baseball season is under way. Major League pitchers and catchers are reporting. Ah, the smell of baseball is in the air.

Can't wait. Love college hoops (you can have your NBA until playoff time), but there's nothing like that magical sound of a baseball coming off a bat. The popping of the leather, the spitting of tobacco, the chatter of kids at a Little League game.

The great thing about baseball is when you go to a game you'll likely see something you never have before.

My last MLB game was a couple of years ago when the St. Louis Cardinals visited the Atlanta Braves.

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez got tossed by the home plate umpire in the bottom of the ninth inning with only one out to go. Rest assured, I'd never seen that before.

There are so many games within the game that make baseball the best game of all.

Granted, people complain about a game lasting too long. I saw a game pitched by former Brave and new Hall of Famer Greg Maddux last just under two hours. Are we on a time schedule anyway?

I've been to an MLB All-Star game, a playoff game and a World Series game, but my best memories of all were going to Atlanta Braves games as a child with my father.

Back in those days, before the Braves bandwagon fans came along, they were practically eliminated from the old NL West division by the All-Star break. Those memories of the drives to Atlanta with my father have lasted my entire life.

I'm talking some bad teams playing some bad baseball. But bad baseball is better than none at all. Remember the baseball strike of 1994 that resulted in no World Series? Ugh, such a low point.

Admittedly, I was angered and outraged and soon spent Sundays watching NASCAR instead of the Braves game that came on at noon each Sunday.

But when baseball returned, I eventually came around.

People also complain about the huge salaries players receive. Player salaries are guaranteed, so they receive the entire package they sign for with their respective teams – even if injury ends their career.

Is getting paid $20 million a year to throw or a hit a baseball ridiculous? Sure it is, but so is an actor making the same money for doing something that isn't real. It's called acting, after all.

Baseball is real, it's America's pastime, and I'm glad it's back.

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