I LIKE BASEBALL – Marilyn Armstrong

I enjoy baseball. I used to enjoy it because Garry is such a passionate fan of the sport, I was either going to learn to like it, or spend half the year having no one to talk to because there was a game on television.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

Gradually, I got to really like the game for its own sake. Its complexity. The slow, careful way it unfolds. The subtleties of how the ball is thrown, how the pitcher finds the seams and throws so the ball dips or rises. How it is caught and by whom. The way the field is set up, depending on who is hitting. All those decisions about running and stealing.

Errors.

Was it a mental or physical error? What other sport takes the time to figure out whether the subject thought wrongly or just did the wrong thing? Imagine a football announcer discussing whether that hit was a mental or physical error? No one talks “mental” in football, despite the enormous complexity of the game. Baseball is relatively simple compared to football.

Garry and Harvey Leonard, famed meteorologist, sharing old Dodger baseball memories

Stop and think about all the things that must go through the mind of the quarterback and his team to make a play. It is — sorry for the pun — mind-boggling.

The point is, I like baseball and I sort of like football, though I’m less familiar with its finer points than baseball. Football makes me say “OUCH! That really had to hurt!” while watching. I’m amazed anyone has a brain after it gets whacked during the game.

Gate D – Fenway Park

People who don’t like sports don’t get it. They don’t see the point. Why bother? It’s just a bunch of guys running around a square before when a ball gets whacked by a batter.

Can you whack that ball? If you can do it regularly, you can get paid as much as $250 million for — I’m not sure — maybe 10 years? Does whatever you do pay that well? So, however dumb you may think it is, if they would pay you that much money, you think you might run around the bases? Yeah, I think so too.

So now we get do why is it dumber to play baseball then do something else? Is working in a bank smarter? For that matter, is writing manuals for software inherently more intelligent — or is it just something I do well enough to get paid?

Mostly, what we do for a living depends on what we are good at. It’s nice when it’s something thoughtful where you can make a difference, whatever that means these days. But most of us just do the best we can with whatever talents we have. Maybe it makes a difference — sometimes — and then again, maybe it doesn’t.

So why is running around during a ball game sillier than sitting in front of a computer writing code for computer games? What is the difference except that ball players make a lot more money (because it’s easier to find a coder than a pitcher or a guy who can hit 50 home runs)?

So much of what we do in life is pretty dumb. We don’t do what we do to be smart. We do it because it earns our living and we need a paycheck. We do it because it’s enjoyable. It makes us smile, laugh, cheer and feel good about something that isn’t politics or money. Our life is not on the line. It’s just fun.

If you are one of the intensely annoying people who despises sports because they are stupid, ask yourself a question: What do you do in your life which is so much smarter? And how well do you get paid to do it?

Who is smarter, really?

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. Retired! Yay!

17 thoughts on “I LIKE BASEBALL – Marilyn Armstrong”

  1. It’s not a European game, although we played something similar at school called rounders. I was always a soccer fan following West Ham United, which was our local team.

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    1. Rounders was the “original” game for cricket and baseball and a few other games, too. They are all very similar. Hit the ball with the bat and run somewhere and try not to get tagged out. I was never much of a player — too clumsy — but it’s fun watching the “kids” do it.

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      1. it is great watching all the other teams and players with our new TV beisbol package. There are many exciting new players this year. It’s “cool” to see them show what they can do. It’s actually the beginning of a new era with all of these kids blossoming before our eyes. As a beisbol fan, it is very exciting for me.

        I’m hoping my Red Sox can stay the course and make it to the World Series. But it’s a long road with many obstacles including the dreaded Yanquis who boast an awesome collection of sluggers and multi-talented players.

        I wish the beisbol yakkers could be better. So many are boring, inaccurate and unfunny. Hard to figure why they are working with many talented people looking for the chance to show their talent.

        Last night’s ESPN “showcase” baseball game featured their signature “3 in a booth” broadcasting lineup. They NEVER shut up and let us enjoy the game. Vin Scully must be rolling his eyes in retirement. Vin, please come back. We NEED you. COME BACK, VIN!!

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    1. LESLIE, I dreamed of growing up to play centerfield, replacing my idol Duke Snider, hitting #3 in the order while patrolling the BROOKLYN, Ebbets Field outfield.

      Alas, no talent. Dodgers abandoned us for La La Land. Ebbets Field is gone…as are almost all those Boys of Summer.

      I cudda been somebody. An American Tragedy.

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  2. We have a great weekend coming up. Red Sox play Yanquis, 3 games at Yanqui Stadium. First place is up for grabs. Sox half game ahead. No, it’s not “early”anymore. Every game is important.

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