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Baseball is Boring

I’m a baseball guy and engage a lot of folks that aren’t aficionados, and they dismiss the game I love with that criticism. I’ve thought a lot about why they feel that way.

Baseball is boring

One category of people that say it’s boring are those that have had a bad experience or a poor first impression, and are turned off forever. A common cause is that they had kids that played in the outfield and didn’t get a ball for two hours, while the pitchers walked 5 (10!) batters in a row on a cold March afternoon. Another reason is that they were taken to a game at some point by someone that couldn’t make what was happening in front of them come alive.

Another class are people that play or follow other sports and know theirs is the best. Gonna raise my hand here and say that I’m guilty as charged, with the qualifier that I have and currently follow/play/coach all sorts of other sports. I even paid for the Hurling streaming package for a season after visiting Ireland a few years ago. As a large consumer of sports, those folks that claim their sport is less boring have never really learned the intricacies of baseball and sadly, probably never will.

The third group of the ‘boring baseball’ types are those that follow no sports at all.

Baseball is like all other sports, but the action might not be as intense. I don’t like to blame the ubiquitousness of mobile phones for shorter attention spans, but baseball requires patience. Kind of like watching a rose grow and bloom. Some might counter that it is like watching paint dry, but when that paint is administered by a Monet or Picasso? I bet there isn’t a single person reading this that doesn’t think they could be more patient.

Baseball is like other sports

Baseball is like other sports in that the beauty of the game is marveling at the athletic prowess displayed and knowing that it took decades of devoted practice to turn natural physical gifts into feats of strength and grace that look effortless. You name me another sport where throwing/hitting something going 90mph (150kph) starts every play. And then the action starts.

 

Baseball is like other sports in that going to a game is an experience.

If you go to a baseball game expecting to be thrilled every minute, then you would find it boring. If you want to go to an event where you can talk with a friend, spouse or child for three hours without being interrupted by the aforementioned mobile device, where you can sing some songs, eat and drink stuff that’s bad for you but is still delicious anyway, do so in the open air with green grass spread out like a carpet in front of you, a baseball game has all of that. You are so lucky to be in Taiwan as you can sample a night at the ballpark with local flavor. The game on the field is the same, but what happens in the stands is unique and wild. Every player has a song and every fan of the home team not only sings along to each song, but also has a synchronized dance to go along with it. The crowd is also made up of a larger percentage of women and girls than you’ll find anywhere else. So many nights start out with us in a section with locals and we kind of keep to ourselves, but by the end of the game, we are all sweaty and smiling and laughing together. Feels like you are part of something bigger than just a game.

Once you learn a little bit about the game itself, you will find that the action on the field isn’t boring at all. Every pitch, every sequence of events, positioning strategy, which players are on the field and who is lurking for an opportunity in the dugout, the direction of the wind…it is endless. Once you start to see some of it, the world of baseball opens up like the door of Dorothy’s farmhouse into Oz.

Baseball is like other sports, but more so.

That is what happens to us baseball types. We get hooked and it is part of our lives forever. If you fall in love with a baseball person, you have to know that you will share that person with baseball every day of the year, forever.

But here is the thing…if a baseball person falls in love with you, they have seen all the little things that make you who you are and have decided to be all in. They marvel at your hitting mechanics that have you hitting over 300 and still notice the little tweaks you experiment with in your swing in an effort to make it just a little bit better.. They have the patience to wait while you get yourself ready to pitch cause the payoff is always worth it. They understand when you make an error and will pick you up with a pat on the back and tell you to go get the next one cause they not only know you will, but that they need you to be confident and strong as you make the team better when you are. Sometimes they make a bad call, and the argument gets so heated that you get thrown out of the game, but there is another game tomorrow and we are gonna share the field again. Best of all, they will be a fan of yours for life. Even when you’re in a slump, sometimes for a whole season, they are gonna keep coming out to root, root, root for the home team.

If that’s boring…

John Imbrogulio is the Centered on Taipei Magazine’s Chief Baseball Correspondent and a longtime coach of the Taipei American School Tigers baseball team.

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