By DAVID HUNTER
The weather has finally turned warmer, and it is now April, so it means only one thing: Opening Day is here for the national pastime.
With that said, it was also time for the annual MTSU Baseball in Literature and Culture Conference. This year's event included a couple of guest speakers, tomatonation.com writer Sarah Bunting and Ken Griffey Sr., former World Series champion with the Reds.
Each year, the conference led by MTSU English Professor Dr. Warren Tormey, brings scholars, and baseball fans to the James Union Building as they spend a whole day just talking about the national pastime. It is a perfect way to get everybody excited for the upcoming MLB season, including myself.
Dr. Tormey does a wonderful job each year with the event, especially bringing in high profile guests like Griffey Sr.
Older baseball fans know about the tremendous career of Griffey Sr., especially his three World Series titles with the Reds back in 1975 and 1976 as part of the "Big Red Machine" and in 1990, even though he was released midway through that season. He also spent time with Yankees, Braves and the Mariners. On Aug. 31, 1990 while with Seattle, he played in the same outfield with his son, Ken Griffey Jr. who also enjoyed a great career. By far, Griffey Sr. said those were his favorite moments during his 19-year career in the big leagues.
Baseball has always had a special place in his heart .
"It has been my whole life," Griffey Sr. said in a phone interview last week. "I have been in baseball since 1969. It is the only sport I have enjoyed doing. It has been very special to me in terms of being able to a make a living. I did not think I would be making money playing a game that I enjoyed playing when I was younger."
As for Bunting, she has written several articles for many print and online publications, including Seventeen, New Yorker, Maxim, Glamour, sportsonearth.com, Yahoo and NPR. Currently, she writes for tomatonation.com and East Coast editor of previously. TV. She is a long-time fan of the Mets and baseball has a special place in her heart.
"I love baseball like a family member," Bunting said. "It is amazing how having it on in the background can improve crappy situations like getting stuck in traffic or paying bills. The sounds of the game on the radio, even a mediocre team in a meaningless June game, are like listening to the ocean for me."