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Knock me out at the ballgame

Who says professional athletes aren't role models? The most inspirational moment in baseball history came when the San Francisco Giants pitcher Juan Marichal (no. 27) hit Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Johnny Roseboro (falling down) in the head with a baseball bat in 1965. Somebody bring out the apple pie and the flag!

I don’t know which sport I care less about: pro basketball or Major League Baseball. In fact, until this afternoon, I didn’t even know today was baseball’s opening day. And even though I can’t name you five major league ballplayers, and even though I don’t know which teams are in which divisions—which leagues, in many cases—I still was pleased to learn that today was the opener.

This is because I know baseball game broadcasts are so plentiful that when I’m having trouble sleeping, I’ll just turn on the TV, tune in a game and be in a box seat in Slumberland Stadium in 10 minutes or less.

I have never seen a sport as boring as baseball. Yachting may qualify, but I’ve never been so desperate for distraction that I’ve watched yachting. Compared to baseball, curling looks like a Formula 1 race. I’ll bet if I sat down with a stopwatch and timed how long the ball is in play during a nine-inning game (including all pitches and foul balls), the total would be less than an hour.

The rest of a typical three-hour game is two hours of nothing happening. Time not only stands still, it yawns and lies down for a nap. Some fans boast about this. They said, “Baseball is the only game without a game clock.” To which my retort is, “This is a good thing?”

This is not to say players are without skills. I would be more likely to win the Masters than to stand at the plate and get a hit off of any major league pitcher (and probably every minor league pitcher too). I could not catch a ground ball. I could not catch a fly ball. I wouldn't even be able to field a bunt. I would be unable to throw a ball from third base to first base with any speed, much less accuracy. I could not pitch the ball anywhere near the plate, or, if I did, any ballplayer with even a smidgen of talent would knock it out of the park.

I have to admit I went to a ballgame once. It was in Toronto, when the Blue Jays (that is the team name, isn’t it?) still played outdoors. The game began about 8 o’clock and the sky gracefully faded to night. It was a shirtsleeve, sweat-free summer night. I found the pace of the game to be just fine, because at the ballpark, I had a chance to talk and joke around with other fans, marvel the pinpoint accurate throws by peanut vendors, and appreciate the nonchalant honesty of fans as they passed other fans’ money down long rows to buy concessions, then passed the hot dogs, beer, popcorn and soda pop—and change—back to the buyers. All of that ambiance is missing at home.

There is one advantage—one—to the pace of play when you’re watching a televised game. You can get up, go to the bathroom, get a snack, open a beer, let the dog out, let the dog in, and return to the set to see that the batter who was at the plate when you left is still at the plate. Maybe the count has gone from 0-2 to 2-2, maybe as far as 3-2. But really, you didn’t miss anything, because "nothing" is the game’s major charm.

If there’s anything to like about baseball, it’s this: The game is a fail-proof sleep aid that has no side effects. Thank God it’s also non-habit-forming.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 7th, 2015 02:21 am (UTC)
You, sir, are a damn communist. I am embarrassed for you.
Apr. 7th, 2015 02:25 am (UTC)
And I don't care about college football, college basketball, NASCAR and, until the playoffs start, pro football. That puts me way beyond commie, don't you think?

Apr. 7th, 2015 02:28 am (UTC)
Football, Big Fat Meh. Football is the Opiate of the Masses who don't have the introspection to see the beauty of baseball. It's an American Sport in all the wrong ways.

I can't even imagine the mindsets of people who love college basketball and NASCAR.
Apr. 7th, 2015 02:35 am (UTC)
Your reply must have been zapped by a solar flare because it says "beauty of baseball." Either that or I'm missing the irony.
Apr. 7th, 2015 02:37 am (UTC)
I will just pretend you didn't say that.
Apr. 7th, 2015 11:56 am (UTC)
If all else fails, you can always try my favorite nail biter - curling. There is nothing like the excitement of a well thrown rock and a skillfully executed sweep.
Apr. 7th, 2015 01:16 pm (UTC)
I like curling. Seriously. It's one of the highlights of the Winter Olympics.
Apr. 8th, 2015 03:35 am (UTC)
A baseball game is like watching paint dry!
That being said, one of my fondest memories as a child was lying in bed with my dad as he listened to Pittsburgh Pirate Baseball on KDKA, the Pittsburgh powerhouse station. My dad with his Zenith box radio positioned on his chest moving it around until the deep, rich basso voice of Bob Prince, "The Voice of the Pirates came clearly through. In minutes his voice over riding the crowd noise lulled me to sleep...a virtual sandman of sound.-Ho;iday

baseball on KDKA
Apr. 8th, 2015 03:49 am (UTC)
I'll never forget being a kid and listening to a game—a Yankees game, no less—on a transistor radio after bedtime. But back then I was too young to realize that every hour spent watching a baseball game was an hour I could have been taking a nap instead. And I respect the nap.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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