“Baseball’s boring,” I’ve heard many people say. “Why can’t it be more like football? Football’s got action happening all the time.”
I beg to differ. Baseball isn’t boring. Calling it boring over-simplifies and degrades it. But it is the thinking-man’s sport. There is a good deal of strategy in it.
After you’ve seen a game, the overriding memory you go away with isn’t so much of the score and the plays that made that score manifest itself but of the feelings you had as the game took place around you. How the third-baseman, crossing into foul territory, caught a pop-up for the second out of the second inning feet from your seat. How another foul ball might have taken the baseball cap right off your head, if not for your trusty glove. How a home-run in the sixth, a monumental shot to left-center, put your team ahead to stay. If only the bullpen can hold it, you remember thinking. They did.
As I head to another baseball game–I’ve been to so many over the years I’ve lost count–I am reminded once again that baseball isn’t boring. It’s never been boring to me. it’s the sport that, more than any other, engages you in a battle of strategy. It’s the sport whose games are all the same, in that each will run nine innings, yet every game is different. You’re bound to see something at a baseball game you’ve never seen before, no matter how many games you’ve witnessed.
And, later, when the game is over, all over, and you’re awash in sentimentality, because the sport can do that, too, you’ll remember the grace of players whose spikes have sat in closets for fifty years, whose smiles were genuine, whose exploits between the baselines were grand.
I know I do.
Baseball gives us this lesson: Live in the present, but celebrate the past.