Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Adventures in the Major League

As you know from this and also this, I'm not the world's biggest fan of baseball. However, in order to refrain from taking the title of World's Most Ignorant Bigot away from Mel Gibson, I keep an open mind to attending baseball games when the opportunity arrives.

For instance, last month a group of young adults from my church planned to attend a Washington National's baseball game. In true AJ fashion, I told them I had a wedding to attend and could not make it.

Unfortunately, my wife reminded me that I did, in fact, have a wedding to go to. Darn people getting married.

My wife and I ventured up to the great state of Maryland in order to attend (please replace 'great' with 'ravenous' and 'state' with 'pit hole'). The bright side for me, at least, was knowing I would not have to attend the baseball game. That was, of course, until I arrived at my sister-in-law's house and found out they had tickets to the Baltimore Orioles game that night.

Knowing my wife, the only way she'd go to a baseball game is if it was free or if the Minnesota Twins were playing. I was confident in the statistical advantage I had that the opposing team was not the Twins.

You can guess what happened. Orioles v. Twins.

Yet, I'm an optimist so I figured this would give me a great chance to watch a game from good seats and try to see the value in baseball. And I'll tell you what. I discovered a few things about baseball, and I learned a little something about myself in the process (mostly that if I sit in 110 degree heat long enough I can sweat straight through a shirt).

Here are seven observations from the game:

1) I know the Orioles are a terrible baseball team, but I was impressed by the number of fans that showed up for the game. Granted, it was a Saturday night game against a baseball team identified by its state and named for its cities (something you don't find anywhere else in sports). However, Camden Yards is a great stadium and it was good to see it with a large crowd until I realized....

2) Over half the fans were there for the Twins. I'm not exaggerating. When Luke Scott hit a 2 run homer to put the O's up by one I jumped from my seat to cheer on the home team. I looked around to see my fellow fans and felt like Tiger Woods at a "Husband of the Year" award ceremony. Out. Of. Place.

3) When its 110 degrees and its 7:00pm, you had BETTER give away free cups of ice. Which they did. So...one point for the city of Baltimore.

Quick score recap-
AJ: 6
Baltimore: -2,319

4) I'd say I'm a Nationals fan before I'd say I'm an Orioles fan. But the O's have a guy on their team named Felix Pie. That's almost enough to make me convert. All I can think about is an animated black cat with large eyes pulling a delicious pie out of a bag.

5) Speaking of Felix Pie, he was able to stretch his first at-bat, a line-drive that skirted past the outfielder, into a double. It was impressive. Until play stopped, and the first base coach ran over and collected Pie's belongings. Batting gloves, shin guards, wallet, cell phone, chapstick, earrings. How is that allowed to happen?? Imagine Rajon Rondo stealing the ball and running a fast break, getting ahead of the defense then stopping at the free throw line to take off the sweat bands he wears on his fingers and pass them to the assistant coach before resuming play and shooting a jumper. Baseball is so weird. If you can't run 90 feet in it, don't wear it to bat.

6) I appreciated the college kids sitting in the row behind me. They proved to me baseball is a sport for grandparents only. It was a group of friends who came to the game and were clearly Orioles' fans. I could tell because they referred to Miguel Tejada as "Miggy", which means they have a close personal relationship with him. Throughout the entire game they were discussing their fantasy BASKETBALL league for next year. It's July. It couldn't be further away from basketball season right now. They won't even talk baseball at a baseball game.

7) The most redeeming factor of the entire baseball experience is the beer callers. They are most fascinating individuals ever. They're basically homeless people with jobs. Raggedy looking folks, who shout incomprehensible noises at you while trying to get your money. I'm almost positive they teach beer callers that the longer you make fun of a patron, the more beer they'll buy. They just shout at people until they buy beer. It's like being a senior member in a fraternity.

I will say this, the baseball highlights that I'm forced to watch every morning on ESPN do seem much more impressive after you go to a game and you realize these are real, live, unathletic white guys making diving catches and turning double plays. As an unathletic white guy, I can appreciate that.

And in case you think I'm just ragging on baseball again, I present my full argument:

The defense would rest, but I got plenty of sleep at the Orioles game.

1 comment:

  1. My counter to your baseball arguement: On Saturday I saw the USA Men's Slow Pitch Softball team play Canada's slow pitch softball team. Now Slow pitch softball is a sport I can play. This sport has replaced curling for me as "Sport I am Most Likely to play for the National Team and START." Baseball is more entertaining than this. It's not really a counter arguement, but reading your article made me think of seeing that game on ESPN over the weekend. I left the bar after the 3rd inning and it was 16-15 Canada over the USA and the USA was coming back because Canada scored 11 runs in the first. Only time I've ever seen Batters and Catchers in slow pitch wear helmets...with cages.