Baseball, it could be argued, is the “national sport” of the United States. When people talk about the US, and what might be construed as its “culture,” the phrases “baseball” and “Mom’s apple pie” come out.
I don’t know about y’all, but my mom didn’t really make apple pie all that much. In fact, I think I could probably count on one hand all the times Mom cooked an apple pie. (Maybe an apple crisp every once in a while, but not pie.)
Jenn and I went to a baseball game at PGE Park last weekend. We watched the Portland Beavers play the Las Vegas 51s. The original reason for the trip was that Jenn’s niece, Aurora, and her tee-ball team, were all going to go out on the field.
We got to the stadium like 20 minutes before the game started. We sat down in these tiny, tiny seats where I had to straddle the seat in front of me, knees knocking the shoulders of the hairy biker guy in front of me (who wasn’t too happy about that). I can’t say I was happy to have my feet floating in a puddle of spilt beer from three rows back, either, but what are you going to do?
Just before the national anthem, a cloud of identical-looking children in numbered t-shirts ran out on the field. They distributed themselves at each of the four bases and the national anthem was sung. After that, the kids all ran back off the field.
That was it. That was the whole reason we showed up. They stood on the field for the national anthem.
I was prepared to watch some miniature baseball. At the Winter Hawks games, when the kids come out on the ice, they actually play hockey. That’s cute. Not here, though. No playing, just standing around. I couldn’t even tell which of the tee-ballers was Jenn’s niece.
Thus commenced the game.
Now, I am not a baseball fan. I’m in love with the concept of baseball, the romantic notions it conjures up, but I hate the game itself. It’s slow. It’s boring. Nothing happens. Who struck who out? Does it matter? Why should I care?
We stayed for an hour and a half and got halfway through the game before I couldn’t take it anymore and we left. I think I can safely pass on heading in there again and I won’t feel like I missed anything.
I hear that there’s a lot of strategy to baseball. Who pitches, and what kind of pitch… who bats… when the people run from base to base… The thing is, I don’t have time for that. Nor do I care. It’s like watching a slow character-development-based movie where they haven’t taken the time to show you why you should care about the characters.
When I think “baseball,” I think: hot dogs, hanging out with friends, relaxing, having a good time. When I actually see baseball, I think: boring. There’s not enough going on out in the field. Admittedly, it’s got some of the simplest rules of any sport out there, but it’s boring as hell. On par with curling or shuffleboard. That said, I’m not a football fan, either - the rules, in my opinion, are far too complex for what it is.
I think that’s why I’m a hockey fan. There’s a lot going on, and the rules are simple. That’s the best of all worlds. Maybe I should have been born Canadian. Baseball has to be the dumbest national sport EVER.