For as long as I can remember I found baseball really boring. At the first game I ever attended, in the top of 3rd Inning I asked my Dad if we could go home. In Little League, multiple times while “playing” outfield I remember thinking to myself “I can’t wait to go home and play Sonic”. I would also pretend I was a ninja and write movie scenes in my head to pass the time….little league outfield blows.
I also used to say in High School that I will never understand baseball. Any sport in which a squirrel on the field warrants 10 minutes of commentator banter could not possibly be exciting.
But over the last 4 years I have grown to love baseball, and I’m actually not so different than my younger self.
I realized I am a fan of Baseball Coverage many times more than I am of Actual Games.
Follow me. My interest in baseball began, VERY DORK-LIKE I KNOW, with “MLB The Show” on PlayStation. It’s the best sports video game of all time, and if you even try to mention that freemium- mobile-quality-garbage-parading-as-a-platform-game “Madden”, you are stupid people. You can’t use the phrase “stupid people” anymore because you are they.
By playing I got to know the players and the teams in baseball. I gained an idea of which teams were good and at which positions. When free agency came and the sports media I was consuming talked baseball, I now understood which was a big move or a big improvement for a team.
I found out about the expansive and amazing statistics movement going on in baseball. I half -read Moneyball (random pages out of order+ watching the movie= half read). The Mets, who had been “My team” forever (if you put a gun to my head), were becoming exciting and about to be good as well. The promise of the Jason Bay and Johan Santana money coming off the books and what they would do with it (Curtis Granderson) Excited me.
I soon started checking the Mets box scores and caring. That parlayed into “I can check the scores change as they unfold Live!” I discovered that they play games (like 160 something) TELEVISED! I began to watch these box score creating events. I got to watch that player who’s stats I liked because he walked a lot ACTUALLY TAKE A PITCH AND WALK. I even discovered that my favorite team plays in my city and I can pay to watch the games in person (which should be the case for you unless you are a front runner or moved).
Seriously though thats very basically how I went from hating baseball to loving it. But even though I watch games my interest still lies primarily with the things that hooked me in the first place.
Exploring philosophies of different organizations, reading arguments on which statistic more accurately depicts a players contribution, all of this is the one word I’d never use with baseball: exciting. What did the Angels expect to get when they Signed Albert Pujols? How about the Josh Hamilton deal? Don’t they know he may drink? Are the Mets ACTUALLY going to spend in free agency? CHASE HEADLEY MADE $56 MILLION?! These things I still find more interesting than Billy Hamilton’s typical lead off 1st.
Recently I began to wonder if my fandom style were unique. When my dad and I watch a game together he often makes observations that I have not ever thought about. This is despite the fact that I know quite a bit more about who is who and who is good. He notices things like a pitchers odd arm slot or big papi style giant leg kicks at the plate.
Given that Baseball Coverage on TV is on maybe 10 times the amount that actual games are, I suspect I am not alone.
However it still feels weirdly honest and somewhat shameful to admit that I like baseball coverage/analysis more than actual games. Maybe its fear of my inner dork or that some douche bag bro like Eric Hosmer will say “You’d rather read about the game than watch it bruh?! Get the fuck out of my house! Don’t touch me.”
Or “Baseball fan are we? You’re a fucking liar!”
MLB is very focused on making the game faster, and that’s very important. But the games themselves aren’t the only product you sell. You sell coverage. You can hook young fans into your product with things like statcast and cool analysis technology.
MLB likely knows this and knows there are many fans like myself and im observing anything interesting all….but you know who doesn’t know this?
billy crystal. I hate him. He doesn’t get it. Fck you billy
Let me know if I am alone. I guess if nobody comments I’ll safely assume I’m alone anyway but you know what I mean.