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Simmons Says - Enjoying playoff baseball
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Something happened to me Sunday that hasn’t in a long time. Sitting around with my dad and brother, I got sucked into watching baseball.

Since I wasn’t the commander of the remote, I had little say in what to watch. If I had been at my house, there’s a good chance I would’ve been watching whatever NFL game had one of my fantasy players in action or “Dazed and Confused” on my DVR. 

Instead, I was stuck watching the Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals play a pivotal Game 3.

At first, I passively watched while we made small talk about how bad the Vols are this year. But little by little, I started locking in on each at-bat, feeling the pressure of each pitch.

Our chatter swung solely to the game-at-hand, especially when the Braves went into the ninth trailing 1-0.

Before I dive in deeper, I should tell everybody this – baseball was my sport when I was a kid. My dad was a commissioner of one of the local leagues and he coached me when I was young.  

I lived and breathed the game. I was running the scoreboard at Hoover and Millraney Field when I was 8. If I wasn’t playing, I was probably involved in a cup ball game nearby the local fields. Me and dad threw almost every day, with me having to get three strikeouts before walking four batters at the end of our sessions (and his strike zone wasn’t favorable). 

By the time I was 14 and entering high school, all I wanted to do athletically was sit at the end of the bench during basketball games and be a relief pitcher. Being a 6-foot-3 lefty, I thought I had a chance to do both with some success.

Basketball worked out, but baseball didn’t. I got cut before my freshman year and I pretty much turned my back on the game.

Outside of Pioneer games I cover, I don’t watch baseball. So Sunday was a real rarity for me.

But when Dansby Swanson roped a tying double into left field, I was screaming and clapping like I was a kid again. By the time Adam Duvall gave the Braves the lead, Brett and I were talking about getting playoff tickets.

On Monday, I watched in agony as the Braves blew a late lead. The Cardinals tied the game on a broken-bat double and single which tipped off the glove of Freddie Freeman. 

It may have been a brutal loss, but I realized something right after – I care about baseball again.