Hello to the vast Fansided Venom Strikes community! I am Michael Ballentine and I am very excited about my new opportunity to write to all of you about the greatest sport in the world, even though they are currently in a lockout...…baseball. I believe it is the best sport because it is such a thinking person's game. There is literally a game within a game almost every pitch of every at-bat. I love it when people say to me that baseball is boring. I always tell them that if they think that, no one has ever actually explained the game to them correctly. I will try my best to do that to each of you through this keyboard into your mind so you all have a love in your heart for baseball as I do.
Let me tell you a few things about myself. First, I am old. I am old enough to have a daughter who my wife and I already raised (well, you are never done being a parent) and she is married and moved out of our home. I am old enough to be married to the same lovely woman for over 30 years. She knows me so well, she jokes that when the regular season comes along, she is widowed for the next 162 days at least. I am old enough to remember Canseco's head causing a home run, Sosa and Big Mac hitting everything over the fence, Ricky talking to everyone in the third person. I saw Hank hammer and Frank hurt, I saw a Crime Dog (who should be in the Hall of Fame) and I've eaten a Dodger Dog. I am old enough to have taken rides with The Rocket and on The Ryan Express. I have seen a Wild Thing, a Wizard, and a Big Unit all in person. I am old enough to have witnessed Barry's 762, Rickey's 1,406, Nolan's 7, Mariano's 652, Orel's 59, Gary's 810, Cal's 2,632, and Pete's 4,192 just to name a few.
Second, I am a proud First Responder. I am proud of the job I do and the role I play every day. Myself and a lot of other fine men and women work in an environment where we are severely outnumbered, where everyone is a convicted criminal and we do it where our main weapon is not a gun or a taser but a can of OC spray that when you use it affects you as much as the criminal.
Third, I am an avid autograph collector. I have a pretty decent man cave. This is another reason why I say baseball is the best sport. There is nothing like Spring Training! If you have never been, I suggest you take a two-week vacation and go see your favorite team. Baseball is the only sport I know, where on a backfield somewhere 90% of the players will at the very least say hi to you. Most will stop and sign for you (as long as you are ready for them), will high-five your kid, and actually, take a minute or two to have a conversation with you. I could go on and on about the Spring Training stories I have. Follow me, send me a message on Twitter and come out to Arizona where I live and we will meet up, and we can talk for 9 innings or more, I might even pay for it. Maybe, if you and all your friends read all my articles, I can convince Fansided to pay for both of us.
Lastly, I am a Believer. I say it that way because I don't really like terms like Christian or holy or spiritual or even evangelical. Believe means me, personally. I believe in things like purpose and miracles and prayer. I have personally not only seen them work but seen them change things. I also believe that if you give such things as positive thoughts, loyalty, forgiveness, and encouragement you will get all of those back. Usually in greater amounts than you gave them. I have been on the receiving end of these blessings and I believe in them.
In closing, I thank you for allowing me to share with you what I believe in. We will do so together with numbers, names, games, and most importantly baseball. Specifically, Arizona Diamondbacks baseball for the site Venom Strikes. Read, share and debate the best sport in the world with me and tell me what you believe in.