Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Baseball - Our National Past-its-time

I used to be a baseball fan. I cried my eyes out as an 8-year-old kid when the Senators played what would be the last game in DC for 33 years. After they left town, I became a loyal Orioles fan and made the trek up to Baltimore several times a season for about 20 years.

My interest in baseball slowly dissolved as the Orioles turned from a perennial contender to a perennial also-ran and as I started a family. I also came to find that the world (at least MY world) had become way too "short attention span" for the game. I no longer enjoyed the pace of baseball, and it became excruciating to sit through inning after inning of little action. I blame this, in part, on the 1996 departure of Jon Miller as the voice of the Orioles. Miller used to keep the game entertaining no matter what was happening on the field, but once he left, so did much of my interest in baseball.

Flash forward to last night - the All-Star game. I have always enjoyed the pomp and circumstance of the midsummer classic, simply seeing all of the all-stars in every team's individual uniforms has always been fun. I skipped the one-hour pregame, and channel-surfed back to FOX at 8 pm, as the players were being introduced... After watching this for about 10 minutes, I surfed away again, and came back about half an hour later, at 8:40 or so, to see how the game was progressing. To my shock and amazement, the game had not yet started. They were still doing some "greatest all-stars of all-time" introductions, and had not even thrown out the ceremonial first pitch. FOX had been on the air for an hour and 45 minutes, and the game had not even started!

I turned off the TV, and spent the rest of the night helping Robin paint Spencer's room, completely forgetting about the game. When I was checking my email around midnight, I clicked on Yahoo to see who won, and discovered the game had not yet ended! It was 3-3 after 11 innings. I switched on the TV, and forced myself to watch the rest of the game, a thankless task that reminded me why I stopped watching baseball in the first place. Four innings and more than an hour later, Michael Young of the Texas Rangers knocked in the winning run with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 15th to give the American League a 4 - 3 win, bringing the longest game in all-star history to a merciful end.

I had to chuckle. Even though America had long since gone to bed, Fox still had one last commercial commitment to make. It had to run the "Chevy Post-game show", which included the presentation of a 2009 Chevy Tahoe Hybrid, "America's MPG MVP", to the game's MVP, J.D.Drew. By this point, Yankee Stadium was a ghost town, and everyone on the TV screen, from Drew himself, to the chairman of Chevrolet to commissioner Bud Selig, seemed anxious to just get the hell out of there.

On a happier note, training camp starts on Sunday! Go Skins!

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