A locus for eccentrics (hopefully)

Friday, March 10, 2006

Hon Ron

Goddamn, I love baseball.

It's sorta sad. I never thought I would really get to this point: salivating over Oliver Perez pitching in the World's Baseball Classic, lustily eyeing the Rocket's future in the MLB (go to the Rangers, I say), and thinking about the myriad ways in which the Cubs will yet again flounder. But, so it is.

I have been trying to identify what caused this switch. Is it that, as I become less and less athletically inclined, I relate more and more to the Matt Stairs, Dimitri Youngs, and David Wells of this world? Is it that finally some of these ridiculously inflated steroid caricatures have finally been outed as fucking phonies? Or is it that Basketball totally sucks nowadays (for me to watch, anyway), Tackle football is cool but lacks the flow of the MLB, or is it that it's damn hard to catch a Hockey game and near impossible to hope to see anybody playing perhaps the most intriguing game of all, Soccer/Football?

Of course, it's all of the above, with probably an emphasis on the first cause. But I figure, why not try to spell out why baseball is interesting, at least to me. In no particular order, here are the reasons I have come up with (I'm doing this on the fly so don't think I've really pondered this all night or anything)

1) I like that Baseball plays 162 games to determine who gets into the playoffs. I like that the season is long and arduous. All the more sweet are the spoils to the victors. I also like that the amount of teams that actually get into the playoffs is fairly low, unlike, say, the NBA. You have to be truly good to make it to the post-season in baseball. Cons of this: okay, Tampa Bay will be playing meaningless games past the All-Star break because they will already be essentially out of the hunt. But that doesn't mean they can't play spoilers (see last season's demolishing of the Yankees late in the season, though the Yanks still made 1st place regardless). Also, the wildcard still allows for a lot of competition in the final games of the season.

2) Statistics. They're cool. Ask any Poli-Sci major. They'll tell ya: t-tests make the world go round. No but really, leading the league in batting average, steals, WHIP, FUBAR, etc. It's a cool thing in my book. When I was doing my Masters, my roommate (Nuge!) owned the bible of statistical books for baseball (it's exact name escapes me right now). We would thumb through that motherfucker for hours. Not only did they have the nicknames of all players pre 1988 or something, the stats for some of the earlier years were really mindblowing.

3) Fat players. Excepting offensive lineman, that QB from Kentucky, the Round Mound of Rebound, and Shawn Kemp in the twilight of his career, baseball players in general just kill other sports in terms of BMI numbers. Sort of keeps the whole, "I'm not an athlete, I'm a baseball player" mystique.

4) The history of the game. Dude: they played this shit in the 1800s. That's cool. Honus Wagner, Cy Young (check out his stats sometime), Ty Cobb. You can't make legends like these up.

5) Along with the history, the stadiums. The fact that every field is different in some way is really a unique aspect of the game. I mean, not just the fact that some are indoors, some artificial grass, some with rowdy crowds, etc. The actually physical dimensions of the parks are different. How sweet is that? I guess I am biased...Wrigley is just such a great place to watch a game (save the huge iron pillars obstructing many a view and the impossibility of scoring a ticket without losing your shirt).

6) The flow of the game. One of the few sports/games that doesn't actually have a clock or timer of some sort. This unique aspect really lends itself to the game having its own metronome.

7) The fact that honor and integrity still mean something to some people. See: Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa. I know it's steroid fall-out, but I think it says something.

8) Managers have to wear the uniforms. I know this is contentious. I still love seeing Bobby Cox, Lou Pinela, and Dusty Baker have to fit their guts into those uniforms. I don't like that they can wear pullovers and whatnot to hide their overflow guttage. But maybe it's better for us all, in the end.

9) Imagining how fucking hard it is to hit a 95 mph fastball and seeing these guys do it with ease (have you been to a batting cage lately? Get ready for some humility).

10) Imagining how fucking hard it is to throw a 95 mph fastball and seeing these guys do it with ease.

That's all I got. I'm just really excited for the upcoming season to start. Can you name who wore the above uniform in his first year in the league? Hint: 1976.

4 Comments:

Blogger BZ said...

thanks for this. Nice prose.

6) The flow of the game. One of the few sports/games that doesn't actually have a clock or timer of some sort. This unique aspect really lends itself to the game having its own metronome.

metronome obviously sealing the deal.

9:58 AM

 
Blogger neill said...

Try unlocking Cy Young in MVP 2005. It's pretty cool.

11:14 AM

 
Blogger Jefe said...

But the metronome is a fast one!!!

4:50 PM

 
Blogger steve said...

THE GAME NEVER ENDS

7:24 PM

 

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