the important and the not-so-important, horribly conflated.

10 Ways to Make Watching Baseball on TV Interesting

In sports on April 7, 2010 at 9:51 pm

I’ve seen way too many articles this week that start with something like:

The April sun, reflecting off blades of manicured emerald sod, flashed out a message—like a mirror in the hands of a boyscout—to the thousands of fans gathered in the stands: Play Ball!

I love Opening Day just as much as the next baseball fan, but these articles don’t make any new fans. So, in an attempt to recruit new Baseball devotees, my simple recommendations for people who, as you read this, would rather manually pump Dick Cheney’s black black heart for the rest of your life than flip on a Baseball game:

10. Buy Some Shelled Nuts: Just because you’re not at the ballpark doesn’t mean you can’t crack open a few peanuts/pistachios/chestnuts (?) to pass the time. The shells, if properly collected, make for poorman’s confetti if your team pulls out a win.

9. Go to a Batting Cage and Try to Hit a 90 mph Fastball: Batting seems like a non-intimidating venture… until you realize how hard it is to hit something the size of a meatball when you can only see it for 0.5 sec. You’ll gain a new appreciation for guys who hit about a .300 average (3 hits out of 10 at-bats), or even those poor pitchers who have to bunt a heater.

8. Imagine what the ‘Roid-popping Players Look Like Without Their Uniforms: Ew, weird, right? No—it’s hilarious if you know that as a direct result of taking steroids, these cheaters grow man-boobs. Baseball, unfortunately, might never escape doping scandals. But karma (and biology) ensures that fans (not Barry Bonds & co with their tiny tiny man parts—another side effect of steroids) get the last laugh.

7. Drag the TV outside: If you can’t make it to the actual game, at least get a nice farmer’s tan while you watch nine innings of ball from the comfort of your backyard/porch/roof.

6. Turn on the Espanol: Most games have alternate Spanish audio. The announcers sound a lot more animated, even if you don’t understand what they’re saying.

5. Watch for the Rookies: A player who doesn’t know if he’ll be on the team by the time he comes to the park tomorrow plays differently—and sometimes that passion and drive rubs off on his teammates. It makes for great baseball. Plus, you’ll be able to tell future bored  and uncaring grandsons/daughters about watching a future superstar when he was just starting out.

4. Make Fun of the Announcers: If you choose to ignore recommendation #7, you can always laugh at the constant stream of mixed metaphors, anachronisms, and general Palinspeak coming from the announcers’ box.

3. Watch for the Rituals: Baseball players may be the most superstitious athletes out there. Their idiosyncrasies—the frantic rocking of managers, the weird slappy game pitchers play with the rosin bag (that white powdery thing behind the mound), the manic adjustment of batting gloves—are hilarious and important reminders that these guys never take their luck for granted.

2. Watch the game with at least one representative fan for each team playing. Mute the commercials when they come on, turn to one of your partisan friends, say, “maybe I didn’t hear clearly because of the commercial, but I’m pretty sure [name of friend who supports the opposing team] just called your pitcher a belly-itcher.” Then watch ’em spar.

1. Pick Your Team, and Stick with Your Team. Pick them for their mascot, their color scheme, their manager’s intimidating mustache, their home city, whatever. Just don’t give up on them by the end of April. They will reward you (in small or big ways) for your loyalty.

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