The very slow game of baseball

Like many sports fans, I have my favorite sports that I cannot get enough of. For instance, football and basketball top my list of favorite sporting events to watch on television. Don’t get me wrong, I will watch any sport on television that at least peaks my interest somewhat. I just prefer the excitement and entertainment that those two sports offer. Sports that are fast paced  tend to keep me glued to the television for hours. And then we have the sport of baseball, the sport preferred by millions of turtles around the world.

In the game of baseball, it would be interesting to track the amount of the time that the ball is actually in play during a 3 hour game. Ball 1, strike 1, foul ball, timeout while the batter steps out of the batter’s box to adjust his uniform the 10th time in the game. In many cases, the pitcher takes forever between pitches to throw the ball to home plate (see Derek Lowe). He needs to get his signals 100 percent in agreement with the catcher before he delivers the rock. JUST THROW THE BLEEPIN BALL, PLEASE!! After a few tosses to the catcher, there is a moment of excitement, the batter actually hits the ball which in about 70-75 percent of cases is an actually out. Then the process starts over again. The batter will arrive to the plate, adjust his uni, step out again and the pitcher will once again take forever to deliver the rock. This process will continue for 9 agonizing innings. And lets not forget the constant change of pitchers late in the game which greatly slow down the game.

If you think watching the game is bad, just imagine the fun of playing the game which I have had. When I was 15 years old, I quit the game because it was simply too boring to play. I switched to track which I found was far more enjoyable of a sport to participate in. After I nearly fell asleep in the outfield during a game, I knew I needed to change sports. It is great to get an opportunity to go bat and hit the ball on those few occasions, but playing in the field can be extremely excruciating and boring experience, especially if you have an ace pitcher on the mound who strikes out a number of batters.

In this new fast paced society of ours, I wonder about the future of baseball. Are kids going to keep playing the game that is very slow and boring to play? When I was a young lad growing up, Major League baseball was the number one sport in the country. Now it has fallen to number 2 and I can see where the NBA will overtake it in the near future. Just how will this new generation of kids view baseball?

Before all you baseball junkies start sending me hateful comments, I do watch several games each year. I greatly respect the tradition of the game and baseball is one of the cheapest sports for any kid to play. The Major League playoffs and World Series have offered up some of the most dramatic moments ever in sports. But if you really want to torture me, force me to watch a double-header in the middle of August with a couple of non-contending teams playing. For good measure, maybe thrown in Derek Lowe to pitch one of the games and I might suddenly lose my sanity!! Baseball is indeed a very slow sport that fast paced sports lovers like myself sometimes struggle to watch.

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The worst baseball stadium in the majors

On October 4th, our beloved Minnesota Twins will play their final regular season home game ever in the Metrodome.  All season long, people have been reminiscing about the last 27 years at the Dome and all the classic moments that have taken place in that sorry excuse for a baseball stadium. Seriously, can any stadium really live up to the short comings of that dump! In fairness, I have only been to one other stadium, Wrigley Field so I am be overreacting a bit but it is hard to imagine a stadium so unfit for baseball as that piece of garbage.

Oh sure, the Dome has some nice things about it.  After all, we live in Minnesota and anyone who has ever visited this state or lives here, knows how fickle our weather can be, especially in April.  During the home opener a few years ago, we got a nice little snow storm.  I still remember watching people walking to the stadium in a blinding snow storm.  Imagine if that game was outside?

Another small purpose the Dome has served is helping area college baseball teams get a jump on the season.  Many area teams do not have the advantage of the nice weather that southern schools have and therefore are at a great disadvantage for getting in early season games.  The Dome is booked throughout March with several college games, with some even starting at midnight.  Imagine the crowds at those games!

But in all seriousness, baseball is meant to be played outside, period! If the weather is bad, so be it! We have a small window of good weather to enjoy in Minnesota and the thought of wasting a perfectly fine, summer afternoon or evening by sitting inside to watch a baseball game is not very appealing to me.

The Dome has some very bad things about it that makes me think twice about spending my money for a ball game. First of all, it is not really a great environment to sit for 3 hours and watch a game.  It is really built for football and after the game, you should make an appointment with your chiropractor to help deal with your sore neck from turning it so many times.  Those who sit on the first and third base sides, know what I am talking about.  Another brilliant design idea was having the seats designed for those, 5 feet and under.  For many of us including myself, who are over 6 feet,  watching a game can make my legs rather stiff with the lack of leg room.  There are many other features that are not appealing to me such as the cramped corridors, the overpriced bad food and of course, who can forget leaving the game and going through those exit gates and being blown away with the wind gusts used to air condition the dome.

But help is just around the corner. I am really looking forward to the new OUTDOOR ballpark set to open next April.  The thought of sitting outside on a warm summer night in July with skyline of downtown Minneapolis in full view, will be something I will dream about all winter.  After being in baseball prison for 27 years, our release is finally coming up.  Baseball, the way it should be for the fan, is just around the corner.

The bad AL central pennant race

As surely as the leaves turn, the temps cool and the sun sets earlier each day, we have another pennant race for our beloved Minnesota Twins. The Twinkies are creeping up on the first place Detroit Tigers, now only 4 games back at this moment with 16 games to play, Detroit has 18.  My question is, do the Twins really deserve to be in the post season at all?

This team has absolutely driven all the sports fans in the Twin Cities including myself, crazy with their underachieving, inconsistent play all year long.  At the beginning of the season, I thought they would run away with the central. They had a good young pitching staff returning and the addition of Joe Crede at 3rd, really addressed their needs for some power at the plate. Instead, the starting pitching has been one big nightmare all season long. Losing a 10 run lead to the lowly Oakland A’s in a game earlier this season really sums up their season. Sure they have had a number of injuries, but there is no excuse for inconsistent play.

The team they are trying to catch, Detroit, has been dreadful this month. How can a first place team lose 5 straight games to Kansas City? If I were a Tigers fan, I would be absolutely infuriated with my team. They are choking away the lead big time. This team looks like one of the worst teams in baseball right now and the Twins have a great opportunity to catch them.  They play 7 more times including this weekends big series at the Metrodome.  If the Twins can win 5 0f 7 of those games, they should be in good shape to win the division. They will probably win the division on default alone! The other teams are just plain lousy. But who knows what will happen with these two clubs? I would hate to be an odds maker in Vegas. But I will put my money on the Twins. They win the Central on the last day of the season.  Wouldn’t it be fitting for them to make a run in the playoffs and close out their final season at the Dome in style? Imagine the Twins winning the World Series in the Dome like they did in 87 and 91. Talk about a story book ending! But this will be far fetched from happening.  But then again, funny things happen in baseball.