Oh, Just Leave Baseball The Way It Is, For The Sake Of Old People
Enough crazy talk about shortening games to make them more “watchable.” It’s never been a sport for actual “watching” anyway.
A childhood buddy just posted something about baseball on Facebook, something that was way too long and boring, something about maybe making baseball games go faster or whatever (if you’ve lost track, Major League Baseball has instituted some new rules to speed up games, and is testing others).
Screw that. Don’t change baseball. It’s never been a sport for watching, anyway, unless it’s either the playoffs or a crucial, division-deciding game. Not now, not ever. It’s a family/buddy get-together thing. You either put it on TV as calming background noise for taking a nap and/or working on your Bobblehead collection, or you go to the baseball park.
If you go to the park, the only — only — reasons you’re there are to sit and chat and be an idiot and eat hotdogs and swig a few beers and be outside. That’s it. Humans have never, ever actually cared about individual regular-season baseball games, except for one demographic: men who are over 70 years old. If those guys go to games in small packs, they’re only there to yell at the players, because they have no place else to vent their magma-deep frustration with humanity (their wives all threatened divorce decades ago, so they really have no other outlet).
Those guys are hilarious. I love them. They’ve learned to focus their deep, bug-eyed hatred for everything about modern life on bad baseball-playing. That stuff is as American as Applebees takeout. The last time I went to Fenway Park in Boston, with my brother-in-law, I tried to imitate those guys. Really loud. “HEY YA F-KIN BUM YOU SHOULD BE DOWN IN F-KIN [minor league] PAWTUCKET, YA GODDAM LOOZAH [other unintelligible random spazzing]!”
So much fun. It’s so cathartic. Try it sometime. Extra points if you can make your voice sound like you eat nothing but cigars and rusty staples.
Leave baseball alone. There is literally nothing more simultaneously relaxing, borderline-exciting and zen-rejuvenating than being outside, sitting in a baseball park, watching those crazy-talented guys play that stupid idiotic game.
Have you ever even been to a professional baseball game? As boring as baseball is, there’s a constant buzz in the air every single minute. When my sister and I were kids, we used to go to see the Wareham Gatemen play minor league ball on Cape Cod. It was a total blast.
And you just never know what you’ll get at a baseball game. In 2007, my wife and I, along with two friends, were at Fenway, and we got to see Clay Buchholz pitch a no-hit game against the Baltimore Orioles. No-hitters are really rare, and we had grandstand seats at Fenway, maybe 24 rows up, toward the first base side. Near perfect. 90 whole dollars per ticket. It was the most thrilled I’ve ever been over anything, ever. Absolute pandemonium. A lottery win. After the last strikeout, all of us guys in the stands, every single person with a penis, was going “Did that really just happen?!” “Yes! It did!” “Fuck you!” “No, fuck YOU!” [hugs]
Just let it be, for God’s sake. Let this one thing be what it is. If you have too much ADD to watch an inning of baseball while you’re screwing around with your phone, you’re not normal, so stay out of it. What, you really think reducing all the baseball games to seven innings would make it more appealing? How would it change anything? My God, on any given day you’d still be looking at game number 122 or whatever, who’s even counting, and the count is 2 balls and 1 strike to the #8 hitter, some skinny infielder who’s got a .219 batting average. You know exactly what’s going to happen, so just take your nap and zip it. We’ll all want baseball to be around when we‘re 70.
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