Thursday, April 5, 2007

A Short Break From Baseball

Blogging has taken a backseat to baseball this past week. First there was a 12-hour rotisserie draft with a group of friends that have been members of the same league for more than a decade. Then a second draft. Then figuring out where the mistakes were and trying to correct them. And, then the actual games themselves started...

I have loved baseball since I was a child. My grandmother taught me the finer points of the game when I was small, sitting on the two single beds in her room and sneaking me soda while watching the usually woeful New York Mets, a team she followed after the Brooklyn Dodgers left for LA. Tom Seaver was my childhood sports idol. When I was 8, they lost the World Series to Oakland and I bawled my eyes out. When I was 21, the Mets won the World Series, just four months after my grandmother died and I spent several days thinking about how happy she would have been.

The game appeals to me on many levels. It's strategic, tense and anticipatory, full of quirks, strange hops and the many permutations of its individual parks. It has its physical moments with 95 mile an hour fastballs, 400-foot home runs and basepath collisions and its graceful moments with well-turned double plays, strategically placed breaking balls and diving outfield catches.

The mathematics also intrigue me. Baseball can be examined, its tactics can be worked out and their success rates established. It can be translated to paper or fantasy sports like no other game.

Of course, it also has its dark moments, but, really, we can thank the outlandish amount of money at stake for that.

Baseball gets a bad rap for being boring. And, I suppose I can understand the charge in today's world of Xbox and XGames. But, then classics are often considered boring, everything from music to literature to theatre. Among sports, baseball would be considered a classic and like the others, it, too, will persist. Its global appeal will ensure that; it's an inexpensive sport that can be played in almost any environment.

So, anyway, the Mets are off to a 3-0 start, having swept the Cardinals in St. Louis to open the season. God is in his heaven and everything is right in the world. Maybe I'll institute a policy of only posting when they lose and with any luck, I'll never be heard from again.


Catherine said...

"The mathematics also intrigue me. Baseball can be examined, its tactics can be worked out and their success rates established."

This is exactly why my older brother is a baseball fanatic. :)

southfield_2001 said...

There is a field of study called sabermetrics that looks only at baseball statistics.
I can't really tell you why it intrigues me (and so many others) but even as a kid I used to sit with the sports pages and work out ERAs, batting averages, etc.
I guess it's my geek side peeking out...