Love it or hate it: Baseball

by David Holub

Love itBaseball is boring, right? In a 2013 analysis by The Wall Street Journal, for an average Major League game, which is right at about three hours, there’s only 18 minutes of actual play – fielding balls, throwing pitches, running bases. Beyond that, it’s a bunch of dudes with facial hair and oral fixations standing around adjusting their privates.

And that’s exactly what I love about it.

Sure, there are plenty of potential fireworks in a baseball game – home runs, double plays, diving catches – but the beauty of baseball is in its slowness. Over a 162-game season, it’s not about what a player does in an at-bat or even a game. It’s about averages, streaks, and momentum. Players put together good numbers and seasons through rumination, study, and consistency. Isn’t that a reflection of life?

The slowness of baseball also encourages slowness in those who watch it, a welcome respite in our hectic and chaotic culture. I like conversation during a game, and reading between pitches and commercials.

So when you say you hate baseball because it’s boring, I say that’s exactly why you should love it.

David HolubHate itThere are 162 games in a baseball season. That’s 162 times I’ll say “No, thanks” and find something else to do.

I admit that my antipathy toward baseball is due to having lived in Chicago and working several blocks away from Wrigley Field at a lovely, now gone, used bookstore called The Bookworks. It had an enormous picture window and was open late. This window was regularly smeared, puked near, and pounded on by baseball fans of all regions.

Not quite endearing.

Cubs fans were happy-go-lucky and the most likely to moon you. White Sox fans were the angriest and most likely to shove their head in a bookstore to shout “NERD!” then stumble off into the night. And cops were always going to corral rowdy inebriates directly in front of the door, thereby blocking off entry or exit to a functioning bastion of culture among the bars.

It’s unfair to judge the game of baseball by fans vomiting on my bookstore, taking up all the parking, and causing cops to descend on the block, but so it goes.

Patty Templeton

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