Monday, October 19, 2015
Take Me Home to a Ball Game
Turn on a baseball game in April or May and I'm more likely to change the channel to something else.
Hell I'll watch one of those House Hunting reality shows.
"Bob and Helen are retiring from their jobs as flange assemblers. And now they want to want to buy an oceanfront home on the beautiful island of Maui. She wants access to good shopping. And Bob wants to be close to the ocean so he can take up parasailing. They only have $125,000. Can they leave the brutal, icy winters of Detroit for the warm trade winds of Hawaii. Stay Tuned."
I'll stay tuned. Just for the remote chance of seeing Bob, sporting his Detroit Lions Speedo, getting hoisted in the air by a 400 horsepower cigarette boat.
The point is, I'm not watching baseball in the spring.
But come October, it's a whole other ballgame.
The wheat has been separated from the chaff. I have no idea what that means, but as of today, there are only 4 teams in contention for the World Series.
When the stakes are this high, so is my interest level.
Watching baseball on TV has its own rhythm and language. It's slower and more thoughtful than football. With all the strategies and moving pieces and detailed attention given to each pitch, its more akin to a chess game. Had you not known this, I fancy myself a pretty good player at chess.
And I like the sportscasters. Much more so than the football announcers.
Gruden is a loudmouth who can't stop talking. Collingsworth never fails to mention his glory days with the Bengals, an oxymoron. And Trent Dilfer should be taken to the woodshed. And left there.
Give me Ernie Johnson and his solid play by play.
Give me Cal Ripken and his admirable hardworking lunchpail mentality.
And give me Ron Darling whose baseball prescience never ceases to amaze.
"With the count 0-1, this would a good opportunity for Hernandez to get a good jump on the ball. Maybe play a little Hit and Run."
Guess what happens 5 tenths of a second later?
If I have one bone to pick, and this happens every year, I still don't have a solid grasp on the differences between all the various pitches.
A four seam fastball looks a lot like a two seam fastball.
What's the difference between a Cutter and a Slider?
And for god's sake tell me or show me how a breaking ball moves in a different way than a curve ball.
I found this handy visual chart.
But I'm not sure it does me much good. Or if it would have done me much good when I played Little League baseball at Vilardi Fields in Suffern NY. As the second string catcher I went an entire year without a single hit. Though the coach said I had taken a lot of "good cuts."
Once I hit a ball, a fastball I believe, so hard it went sailing over the fence. About a foot and a half left of the Foul Pole.
A perfect metaphor for my life.