The Boring Game

It would be grossly understating if I were to simply say that I am a baseball fan.  Only after one understands that the term “fan” is short for fanatic that my attitude toward the game begins to be revealed.  Someone said this week that they didn’t like baseball because it’s boring.  BORING!  If that’s true then Mozart is boring, Rembrandt is boring, Shakespeare is boring.  If baseball is boring then the works of Robert Frost are boring, Tolkien is boring, cinematic classics like “Casablanca” or “Gone With the Wind” are boring.  I make these comparisons because for me baseball is as much art as it is sport.

There is no more suspenseful drama than what occurs in the bottom of the ninth, score tied, runners in scoring position, with the count full on the best hitter in the line-up.  No ballet performance is more graceful than a well-turned 5-4-3 double play.  No touchdown in football, no slam-dunk in basketball, and no slap shot in hockey can compare to the power of a well struck grandslam homer.  The slide into second base, pitching from the stretch, an over the shoulder catch on the dead run of a fly ball to center field, taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning.  No chess match is more strategic or tactical than knowing a hitter’s tendancies and making a defensive shift to take away his favorite part of the ballpark.  BORING!

But, I suppose I might understand why this generation may find “America’s Favorite Pastime” boring from this modern society and culture’s view point.  Baseball is not rapid fire.  There is no “hurry-up offense” in baseball.  There’s no 24 second shot clock in baseball.  Baseball has no over-time rules.  If the score is tied up at the end of the regulation nine innings, play continues with extra innings until one or the other opponent wins.  There have been a number of times in baseball history that games have continued into the wee hours of the morning for a team to emerge victorious.  Baseball is precisely what its nick-name implies…a pass-time.  It is a sport requiring patience as well as skill and athletic talent.  In this present generation of smart-phones, and microwaves, I can understand where it may be misconstrued as being boring.  But just wait….just watch….hold on…

There it is!  The unmistakable CRACK of a wooden Louisville Slugger against the  mudrubbed leather of a hand stiched Spaulding.  The resounding POP of an inside fastball caught in a catcher’s mitt.  The call of the vendor in the stands shouting, “Git yer hot-dogs here!”  And there he is…the corn-fed Oklahoman rookie, stepping from the dug-out shadows into the bright stadium sunshine for the first time, taking his swings in the batter’s circle, muscles rippling, wiping sweat from his brow.  And then his name is announced, “Now batting and playing center-field for the New York Yankees…..number seven….Mickey Mantle!”  Imagine being there on that day at Yankee Stadium!  Now take that to this season, 2011 and the next time a rookie comes to bat, think to yourself…..”Yessir!  This sure is a boring game, this baseball.”  Boring maybe, but worth every boring moment!


1 Response to “The Boring Game”

  1. 1 patrick watters
    April 15, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    Absolutely worth every “boring moment”. It IS all about time… Baseball is a game that is not constrained by time. The completion of events (i.e. “outs”) is what makes baseball such a unique game and so unpredictably and simultaneously wonderful and maddening depending on which side you’re on (i.e. game 6 of the 1986 Mets/Red Sox series for example). In theory a baseball game could last forever. Seems the world hasn’t been the same since we’ve started measuring time. But I digress… Speaking of time, it’s been a long time since we’ve touched base…to continue the baseball theme. I hope all has been well with you guys. All is well in my world. The Jeep body is on the frame!!! woo hoo… Back on the road this year for sure. We need to make some eye contact here soon. I’ll be around over the Easter holiday and the weekend after. I hope we can get together so you can tell me how it feels to see Don Mattingly in a Dodger Uniform!!!
    Via con Dios

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