The Great American Pastime. Baseball. We are in the heat of the season. The All-Star Game has passed and we are heading into the most hotly contested part of the year. Superfans will get even more fanatical about their teams, and sometimes, even regular people will get really suddenly and intensely angry about a team you had no idea they even liked. Oops.
Now, while Bill from sales is still pompously spouting his delusional fantasy of a Braves playoff run, we don’t want you to become disillusioned with the goodness that is baseball. So here’s a couple things you should know.
First and foremost, what you should know about baseball is that you should go to a game. Baseball is a game best enjoyed in person. Many stadiums in the MLB circuit have great histories that are honestly pretty neat. That’s right. Neat. Wrigley, Camden Yards, AT&T Park, Cooperstown: these parks have enough history alone to make a visit worthwhile, even if there isn’t a game playing. Watching commercials during lulls is one thing; absorbing decades of history in a slow inning is another entirely. Even parks built recently often have memorial sections to the greats that came before them. Learning a little something is never bad (except that moment in your life you learn that the moon is not actually made out of cheese).
On top of all that nerdy goodness, being at the park guarantees good food. Hot dogs, fries, popcorn, peanuts, sodas and beers: these are the staples of a great game day diet. And no matter how you try, you can never seem to get them just the same at home.
The second thing you really need to understand is that baseball derives its passion in part from how the game is played. It is not like football, with pre-planned plays and set time limits. It lacks the constant action of basketball’s back and forth. Every pitch is a new opportunity. Even if it’s the exact same pitch as the last, it will somehow be different. A mile per hour slower, an inch to the left: this is all it takes. From the moment the ball leaves the pitcher’s hand, there is a slow stillness that overtakes everything. It takes only one half of one second for the ball to reach the catcher. But when the game’s on the line, it feels like an eternity. Every. Single. Time. This is the magic of baseball. You don’t know until you know for sure, and the suspense is intoxicating.
Baseball is an incredible sport. The history is amazing. Jackie Robinson, Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League: just check out the Hall of Fame and See how many names you recognize but didn’t know you did. The food is far better on-site, and the intensity of the game’s final moments can just about stop your heart. Look into it, get into it, and get to a game. Take your friends; baseball is best enjoyed in great company. You won’t regret it. To boot, the next time Bill from accounting gets himself all riled up, you’ll have some empathy for what he’s on about.