Baseball, hot dogs and heat: A trip through our pastime
ST. LOUIS -- It is 6 p.m. on Independence Day, and I'm standing below the Gateway Arch. I check the weather app on my phone to reveal the inevitable reality that it is 102 degrees outside. My guess would have been 122, but 102 works just as well. Once you're in triple digits, what's the difference?In front of me, a five-piece band plays Southern rock. Overhead, a prop plane soars, leaving a vapor trail in its path. And just a couple blocks southwest, the defending world champion Cardinals have a game getting underway against the Rockies. It is in this moment that I feel very American. And very hot. I'm searching for the soul of a city and of a country and of a sport. My profession takes me to many a Major League team and town, usually to bother ballplayers, consult with skippers and write about why X club is or is not going to contend this year. But on this obnoxiously hot day in the "Gateway to the West," I'm more interested in the surroundings. I'm more interested in exploring what it means to be an American and a baseball fan on the Fourth of July, and I'm guessing the answer somehow involves beer. Soon enough, I'll head to the ballpark. But for now I linger under the Arch to listen to the music and, by chance, the conversation of the two men standing to my right. "It feels like it's cooling off," one says. "Yeah, it's headed in the right direction," the other replies. I check the app again. Still 102. We Americans are nothing if not optimistic.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, CastroTurf, and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.