The beginning of the baseball season, is there really a better time of the year? It is truly a special time here in the Rode household. Each February, just before the college season begins, I take a look back at the previous year. Not only is it a good way to refresh how we tackled the year before, it also gets me hyped up for the upcoming season.
2012 was an incredible year! So many great events, so many great photos! However, there was one series of photos from last year that really stood out to me. Many of you might remember this photo of a little Gavin Ust, son of USA Baseball 18U director Brant Ust. I came across Gavin playing with his mom at the USA Baseball complex while shooting the Tournament of Stars. At that moment, Gavin was playing as the entire team: hitting, pitching and fielding every position. It was so funny to watch. I just had to snap a few photos of him, and what I ended up with was nothing short of fabulous!
With so much going on last summer, I never got the chance to edit and share the rest of these photos. I rediscovered these while looking back over 2012. You might be wondering to yourself why, with all the great events and players we covered last year, would these photos be the most memorable? It’s simple. I love baseball, and this is baseball at it’s finest. There is no talk of steroids, free agents or huge salaries. It’s just a kid with a stick and a ball playing a game he loves.
The beauty is that at some point, we all have been Gavin. Most of us played baseball as kids and fondly remember things like going to our first major league game or the pickup game with our neighborhood friends that we wished would never end. You can’t help but giggle at the thought of playing tee ball in jeans (any other children of the 80s remember this? It was quite possibly the best looking team photo ever!).
That is why I love these photos. It’s hard to look at Gavin without smiling and putting yourself in his place. Regardless of how long or to what level we played, we can all relate to that excitement, enthusiasm and pure joy.
Baseball is so much more than just a game. It is a way of life. It is the connection we share with past generations. It is the tradition that we pass on to our children. It something special that we all share.
So here’s to another season of great moments that hopefully leave us all feeling like Gavin.