On Baseball, the most terrible of all sports

It’s been a very long time I think since I posted anything on this blog.  Probably did something silly and became employed and old and forgot that I have this habit of mansplaining throwing half baked ideas on the internet because either I feel like it needs to happen or I have no other way of expressing myself.

And it’s really been so long that I actually have been fairly submerged in baseball to an astonishing degree.  For a guy who never really cared about athleticism, this new interest in stickball is something that’s been going on for a few years now and it’s kind of isolating because I want to talk about baseball and very few people understand baseball, care about baseball, or able to understand the level of conversation that I am currently operating at.  (Internet baseball troll).

My uncle picked up season tickets to the Dodgers a few years ago and began to offer me tickets and I have enjoyed going.  Some people think baseball is boring; I think that baseball is an odd activity that requires your attention and have some background information because if you don’t understand what’s going on, you are not invested in it.

The only other sport I care about is hockey, and that is a sport that demands your attention and is best witnessed in person.  If you do not understand hockey, I recommend attending a game, hopefully with a person who can explain things like “this game is in 3 periods not 4 quarters nor 9 innings”.  But not me, I’m the guy who says things like “The Dallas North Stars has a handsome center….”  (Tyler Seguin)

Back to baseball.  Growing up I did know that we had some baseball fans in the family.  My mother’s family are Dodgers fans; my paternal grandfather was an Angels fan.  (He sadly passed before the Angels 2002 World Series win).  I remember being a bit of an obnoxious fan as a child; there was a time when my parents took me to a Dodgers – Padres game in San Diego and my father had to admonish me to stop heckling the home crowd.  But I remember having a poster for the Cinderella Dodgers of 1988 and then my attention must have waned … so I stopped even watching it on tv when that was a possibility.

Going to the games has certainly helped.  And then I noticed a book event for Molly Knight’s “The Best Team Money Can Buy” which is a MOST EXCELLENT recent history of the Los Angeles Dodgers.  It does help that she wrote an impressive inscription and that I appreciate her insight on twitter (@molly_knight). It covers the end of the Frank McCourt debacle – a man who had wanted to move the Red Sox to a new stadium built on a parking lot he owned but was unable to acquire that team so he picked up the Dodgers for no money down and then proceeded it to bankrupt it – and going from the worst team in the National League West to the post season.

Which leads me to my headline or subject.  Baseball is a terrible sport.  Mainly because it deals in chaos and opportunity.  In heartache and unlikely victories.  Even though my team is this behemoth with wealthy backers who saw fit to invest in talent, there is no guarantee that their plans will actually accomplish results.  Baseball, it is said, is a sport of failure.  Where we applaud the man who walks up to home plate with a stick in his hand, and if he manages to hit the ball one time out of three* we think he’s great.

*three appearances at bat.  Given that he could theoretically swing three times for strikes at each appearance and assuming at least three plate appearances during the game, ignoring foul balls, if just one time in nine you get on base by hitting the ball….  88% of the time you have not done what you wanted to do but you’re still doing really well.

Or did I just fumble that math.  I think I’m rapidly approaching the point where I start paying attention to numbers.  Baseball more than anything has convinced me that all statistics do is lie and cover up lies and pose as facts.  I don’t hold much faith that baseball statistics will predict the future; there was this time when I was dead certain that Clayton Kershaw, best pitcher in baseball, given a five run lead, could not lose a game.  The truth was, it was improbable, and just had’t happened yet.

And what are you going to do about it?  Complain?  Baseball happens.  Some people baseball better than others.  We can celebrate them.  We can try to learn from them.  But much like life, there are some things that you have absolutely no control over, much like I cannot “fix” the bullpen.

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