Monday, March 31, 2008

Peanuts and Crackerjack

Nine reasons why Opening Day is better than Christmas:

1. The double-play. As opposed to the sexier things in the game, like strikeouts and home runs, double plays are the meat-and-potatoes of baseball, happening in most games, often several times. They are unexpectedly graceful, particularly the pivot to throw to first after receiving the ball and touching second. Everyday grace. The first time my wife saw a professional-level double-play up close, at a minor league game, she actually gasped.

2. Beer.

3. Hot dogs.

4. History. Baseball has been around for well over 100 years. It is a microcosm of American history, good and bad - labor unions, race, commercialism, the worship of celebrity, the celebration of the work ethic and upward mobility. It grew popular during the Civil War, when men from all over the United States taught each other the game to pass the time. After the war, those left alive took the game back to their hometowns.

5. Mr. Met.

6. Bill Buckner.

7. Pedro Martinez. His glory days as a power pitcher are over, and he rarely cracks 92 on the radar gun anymore. He relies on guile and control and wit to survive. In his days as President of Red Sox Nation, he used to “sign” the games he pitched, by striking out the last batter, just to show that he could strike someone out at will. Magnificent. The fact that he’s a Met is just gravy.

8. It is the only major sport with no clock. You play til you’re done. If you refuse to make the last out, it can go on forever.

9 . The Infield Fly Rule.


Nancy Dancehall said...

There is a cult surrounding the Infield Fly Rule.

I remember seeing it invoked during Cubs games back when I was a girl, and I didn't understand it then. Now I think I get it.

Eric Shonkwiler said...

Baseball has always bored me to tears, but you describe it in a way that makes me wish that wasn't so. Number 7 is pretty wild.

Mona Buonanotte said...

Double plays make me breathless. Triple plays give me body-wracking O's. True story.

Reason 10: Pudge Rodriguez of the Detroit Tigers. Pudge and Maglio. Be still my heart!

Jo said...

You make it all sound so glorious. I always feel like I'm missing out b/c baseball leaves me cold. Going to a major league game is fun's like a big weird picnic. Watching T-ball is also fun. And well, I like how green the grass is.

Calvin & Hobbes is one of my all-time favorite strips.

Victoria Gothic said...

A friend of my friend (distant, right?) wouldn't stop talking about this today. At first, I really wasn't sure what he was talking about; the then informs me and asks "Do you live in a basement with no windows and no television or something?" I make a little smirk as does my friend. "Yes." I reply. I really do live in a basement with no windows and no TV; only my books keep me company.

Irrelephant said...

*g* Never cared for sports, but anything that has "everyday grace" in it AND gives Mona an O needs my attention obviously. *lol*

Clowncar said...

The truly cool thing about the IFL, Dancey, is that it seems complicated and byzantine until you figure out why it's needed (to keep the infielder from faking dropping the ball). But once you get it you're like, well, of course!

Yeah, E. The rhythm of baseball is slower than other sports. Slower than modern life. That's why it's so cool! The pace encourages conversation, observation, reflection, and lots of beer drinking.

Oh, Mona! You must be fun at baseball games. A woman after my own heart....

"Big weird picnic." Very funny, Jo. I actually chortled. And yes, C&H rules!

Vic, I have lived in so many basement apartments I've lost count. Good for you! Basement aparments made me unduly fond of walking around naked. Had to change my ways when I started living above ground in places with, you know, windows.

Irr, one of the great hidden secrets of baseball is the great, heart-wracking O's it inspires. Clearly, Mona knows that. I'm not into sports. I'm into baseball. There is a difference.

Irrelephant said...

*lol* Well played, CC.