Monday, March 31, 2014

Play Ball!


The Vernal Equionox has passed, but its not REALLY Spring until Opening Day. 

And so today there’s a singing bluebird on one shoulder, a Louisville Slugger on the other and the world is once again running in greased grooves.


Baseball is here again. We can relax.
Because baseball is all about relaxation. An Englishman once remarked that to endure the top of a 7th inning is to understand all eternity – this from a country that worships Cricket, where a game can easily last for three days.
On the field after running a Giant Race 5K.
But you know what? Let ‘em whine. Today I am in love with all the world. My teams are resplendent, untarnished, invincible. By the All-Star break they’ll be broken down, indicted, and able to strike out at will – but here, poised on the cusp of the season, they are immaculate, inviolate.
I’m feeling so good I’m not even going to get on other sports. 

  • Football, I could point out (if I felt like it), has a season that is less than 1/10th as long as baseball. 
  • Hockey and Soccer have maximum action with minimal scoring. Endless seemingly purposeless motion. “All hat and no cattle” as my rodeo friends say (And don’t even get me started on that “sport”). 
  • Now Basketball is all action and all scoring, but also all traveling. Count the steps on any drive for the basket and see how quickly you run out of fingers.

Minor league ball, like the San Jose Giants, has its
own unique charms. (And excellent BBQ.)
Now the thing about Hockey and Soccer and Tennis is that something significant could happen at anytime, so you have to pay attention. 
Football you can kick back with because there is – according to a classic stopwatch experiment – just about 4 minutes of action in a 3 and a 1/2 hour ‘game’. 
Same with baseball. There is somewhere 30 seconds and a minute between pitches, so sit back and relax. Make a sandwich. Mow the lawn. Do your taxes. Call your Congressman. No hurry.
After I sent this photo to my Mom,
she replied that she would be
watching her grocery store shelves.
Moms - gotta love 'em.
George Will once rebutted the notion that baseball was boring by saying: "But baseball IS action-packed! There is barely enough time to think about everything you need to think about before the next pitch is thrown."
In the Freaky Tiki we watch probably 100 baseball games a year. But we’re never bored. We’ve learned. Now we each have crafts to do inbetween pitches (and a quick finger on the 'mute' button for the commercials).
Yeah, I caught a game ball once.
Gave it to my Gamer Babe, of course.
Indeed, as the season wears on and our teams tank and flounder and sputter and cry like a little girl the crafts become more and more important. Admiral Karen is an expert knitter and I sculpt in Legos. We get absorbed in our projects and raise our eyes only when the pitch is about to be thrown.
That’s of course at home where you have the sonorous tones of the announcers to tell you when something may be about to actually ‘happen’. 
When we go to the ballpark to see our teams play in person we don’t have that privilege. Indeed, we don’t even have our crafts. What we do, to get us through the eternity of that 7th inning, is to just keep eating ballpark food like someone is about to take it away from us.

Now, what were my problems again?
Winter is over. Baseball is here – and the kimchi stench of the garlic fries is in the air. Relax.
Angus McMahan

angusmcmahan@gmail.com
@AngusMcMahan

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