I don't watch football, except perhaps the Superbowl once a year - maybe. I don't watch basketball, hockey, soccer, golf, or even the Olympics (winter or summer). There isn't a principle in this. I think sports make more sense to follow most of the time than politics or fashion, and are not as bad for your brain and stomach as reality TV shows. I don't watch most sports because I don't have the time, or as I've been saying lately, "I've got shit to do!"
But baseball? I still watch baseball. Not every game, and rarely the whole game, and only the Yankees. I always have, since I was a little kid. I still remember the 9th inning World Series game Mickey Mantle won with a home run in 1964. I was there, at the old old Yankee Stadium, when I was 10 years old, with my father to witness it.
But why? Why do I still watch? Why do I still love baseball? It is a very peculiar game/sport, isn't it? The players have to develop very odd and unique skills in order to excel. And one doesn't have to be in great physical shape to be a star player either. In any one game, any one player may be standing still doing nothing for long stretches of time. And then there's the time factor. Baseball doesn't have one. Any one game can theoretically go on forever. Some games seem to. Hitters are considered at the top of their game if they actually hit just 30 percent of the time. What other career offers such a low standard for success, and will pay you millions for the effort?!
Imagine telling your boss: "Listen, I have no idea when I'll be finished with this project, but I do expect to get it thirty-percent right whenever I am done."
Baseball is contemplative in its pauses, slow and thoughtful, with frequent conferences on the pitcher's mound that anyone is invited to join in on. There are unlimited time outs to adjust one's clothing. Baseball is deeply complex in its strategies, relayed through elaborate secret signals that make a grown man look insane. And then there's the umpires, those ludicrous arbiters of reality, barking and dancing their decisions as to whether a pitch is in a viable zone or not and whether a player is safe or out at a particular base. Doesn't matter, either, that our technology actually makes umpires obsolete. They are considered almost as infallible as popes, and they are as often as the pope, wrong. Yet, you cannot argue with their decisions, or you'll risk getting a really big time out!
But none of the above actually explains why I love baseball. Ultimately, we cannot really know why we love anything, or anyone, because love is the movement of the soul, and our souls do not move according to our logic or calculations. If you ask me why I love baseball, or why I love the Beatles, or even why I love my girlfriend, I couldn't give you an accurate technical answer. I just do.
OH, AND ONE MORE THING - which has nothing specifically to do with baseball, but is a great message from "Field of Dreams" which I've repeated many times in many situations:
"Build it and they will come!"