If you like baseball so much, why does it make you so mad?
This a picture my 7-year old son drew of me watching the Texas Rangers:
As you can see, I'm wearing a Rangers tee shirt — that's me, the yellow guy with the purple hair — and the guy batting (wearing some sweet alternate uniforms the Rangers should consider) has done something wrong, because you can clearly see my reaction ("Ahh!") is not good.
This is not a picture from the playoffs, or from September. It's from last weekend and, by the way, the Rangers won this game.It's also sort of an airplane. Not sure what's going on there, but I am intrigued.
Baseball is a game of patience, and frankly I just don't have any. I love my team and I love watching them play, but I just get too emotional and ridiculous about one play in a six-month season (five in college) because, as a football-first guy, one play in a game can mean everything.
After seeing this picture and asking about it, my son turned the tables on me and asked, "Dad if you like baseball so much why does it make you so mad?" I don't like that. That's MY question for him when he's yelling at Skylanders, or Mario, or the DS, or whatever.
It's clear he gets the brains and awareness from his mom, which no doubt we are both relieved by, but not when he uses it for evil against me. I know he won't be coming to me for help with math homework or anything and I'm pretty sure that when he's tall enough to reach shelves, figures out how to use all the remotes associated with the TV and learns how to put batteries in things himself, my skills will be of little use to him.
Except sports. I can still tell him about sports, so let me explain why I love baseball, son. And hate it.
I'm a football guy with a football personality. If there is one sport that runs my life (there is) it would be football (it does). I'm emotional, vocal and want my team to win. NOW. That's the way I've been my entire life.
But while football is the top banana, there is still plenty of room for other sports. I love basketball, too. If Bobby Knight can be a basketball coach, I can be a fan since he takes ridiculous to new places. The fast pace, instant gratification created by shot clocks and good shooting play right into everything I like about sports. I love baseball; however, it does not follow the patterns I need. So I also hate it.
In football there is the two-minute drill. There are onside kicks. These are all adjustments made to try and score quickly when necessary.
In basketball teams can shoot three-pointers and foul on defense to stretch the game. Point guards will intentionally not pick up the basketball at the end of games until they get to mid-court to save time. But the very nature of baseball means none of that is possible. There is no throwing deep, or pulling the goalie, or trapping the inbounds pass to get the ball back. It's three strikes per out, three outs per inning whether it's the 12th inning of game seven of the World Series or a 15-1 April blowout and there isn't anything a team can do differently to get back into games.
And it's maddening. Look at the Texas Longhorns baseball team this year for proof.
Augie Garrido's team is "small ball" and depends on pitching and defense, but when you lose three starting pitchers and your offense is designed to score just enough for that pitching staff to be the difference, you are in quite the pickle.
What's Garrido going to do? Go no huddle, five-wides? Play three guards and shoot from the outside? Of course not. He's going to play the same game he's played every year, but it isn't going to work.
The simplicity and beauty of baseball are both a blessing and a curse for the "score more now" crowd like me because you just can't turn on offense like that in baseball. It's frustrating. Sometimes I feel like Trey Wilson in Bull Durham when he throws all the bats in the shower — "This is a simple game: you throw the ball, you hit the ball, you catch the ball." "If it's simple, Skip, then why is it so hard?"
I understand all this, I do. I've played the game and I know how hard it is to get hits and make plays and I understand that the better you are at something the easier it looks to others. Baseball is a game of patience, and frankly I just don't have any. I love my team and I love watching them play, but I just get too emotional and ridiculous about one play in a six-month season (five in college) because, as a football-first guy, one play in a game can mean everything.
What I'm saying, son, is basically I'm a Texas version of every single Red Sox fan out there. Make sense?
Soon we'll talk about football and what that does to me, but that's for another time.