Friday, July 01, 2005

OH, COME ON!

I really don't know quite where to start.

Right Thinking Girl, a blog I normally love, is blogging about baseball. Indians vs. Orioles baseball, no less.

And she doesn't understand the game.

REALLY doesn't understand the game.

In a way I simply can't get.

I'm from Cleveland. In my youth, I inhaled the sacred expectations of every true Clevelander - that we would win the pennant. Year after year, I watched the Tribe play, suffering along with the rest of the city. It's that character-building experience that has made us so tough.

I played sandlot ball with my brother and his friends. They didn't take it easy on me because I was a girl. I fully expected to join the Indians team once I was an adult.

It broke my heart (no exaggeration) when my brother explained to me that no girl had ever played professional ball, nor ever would. I accepted my fate (Gloria Steinem would spit on me), and found other interests.

So, reading this post about the game I love makes my stomach hurt.

OK, RTG, how do I explain the game?

It's slower than most professional sports. It's more about strategy and bluff. It's a little like life, more slow-mo than TV's frenetic pace. It's about being in the sun, enjoying the day with friends (you really can't enjoy the game alone), and just BEING.

If you would like to understand the game, try starting with watching one of the many baseball movies around - The Natural, The Bad News Bears, or the sacred Major League. Get a list from Google, and rent one. You could do worse than check out Bull Durham, which gives some idea about how to watch ball (in addition to some hot action in the sack).

Check out some amateur games - most cities have a league, or try Little League games. Ask questions. People love to talk about the game. Pay attention, not just to the technical answers, but to the look on their face when they talk about it. Ask them about their childhood experiences with baseball. You'll get some fascinating stories, and many of the men will talk about their father for the first time in years. Some of them will tear up. It's what Field of Dreams was really about.

Don't just give up on baseball. It truly is the American game. Anyone can play. We all get a chance at bat. One mistake doesn't ruin the season, nor even the game (usually). Not everything you do works, sometimes you strike out. Sometimes you're beaten by a better-prepared team. You can't do it all alone (unless you're Bugs Bunny).

There are some great lessons in the game.

Don't give up on the sport.

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