Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Baseball Post Inspired by Football

I love television. Perhaps most of you do too. When a good television show comes around, I'm hooked until either A)The show ends. Or B) The show runs out of ideas and the writers force the issue until it gets cancelled, or ends (I'm looking at you The Office). Being an aspiring writer, I usually have to flesh out my reasons for liking something other then the boring "I just do" or the ever maddening "I believe what I believe and you can't change my opinion". And so I thought to myself, why do I like TV?

And I realized it's because I like baseball*. Let me explain. If you've read any of my previous posts on this blog, you'll have noticed that baseball is a narrative. Well technically it's a game and writers and fans alike ascribe the narrative to what has happened on the field, but there is a story nonetheless. And throughout the grueling 162 game season, hero's, villains, and the like fade in and out of the picture. The longer the season goes on, the more apparent the story arc.

*And you thought this post wasn't going to be about sports.

The thing about baseball is that it's boring. Are you surprised to read that sentence? Don't be, as I'm sure all of you have watched a game half-heartedly while doing homework, reading a book, or cleaning a room. The pace is slow, and there is rarely any action. Hell, the games most heavily advertised, when the Red Sox and Yankees face off, routinely last over 4 hours for a 9 inning game. I don't blame anybody for making the claim that baseball is boring. So what keeps us coming back for more?

Television is almost exactly the same. Even the best of television series have their boring episodes. My favorite show right now, Breaking Bad, has been guilty a handful of times of making me wonder why I just spent 48 minutes watching that seemingly inconsequential episode. It happens. One episode in particular spent 48 minutes showing the main characters Walt and Jesse trying to kill a fly for literally the entire episode. So what keeps me coming back for more?

Television shows, like baseball, are greater as a whole then when scrutinized individually. A truly great season of television leaves me satisfied when I look back upon the narrative that I have just witnessed. Baseball is almost exactly the same. Throughout the summer, a 1-0 loss here, a 15-0 blowout win there, are inconsequential. It's when one looks back through the string of events that got us to where we are now that we really, truly, realize the fun we've had all season long.

And probably, most shocking of all, is that this post was inspired by the upcoming 49er's-Lions game in a few hours. I have an excitement about this game that I haven't had about a 49er's game in a long, long time. And yet, watching football is not the same as television. And it got me thinking. And I now realize that football is a lot like a movie. The narrative is not the same as a television show. Teams gameplan on a week by week basis. And the way fans treat football is incredibly different as well.

Football, like movies, are an event. There's a ritual involved with football that isn't found in baseball. Tailgating is a celebration before the event, and friends and strangers alike share beer, food, and games. Perhaps you have a lucky jersey, an unwashed shirt, or a tattered and worn cap or beanie that you always wear for the game. After the event, you wait for the next one a week later. If you don't believe that this is like a movie, consider what you do when you go to see the next blockbuster hit with your friends. You get to the theater, you try to sit in the same seats, if possible, and you get your jumbo soda and a box of popcorn or candy*.

*My favorite and arguably the best movie candy are none other then Junior Mints. Feel free to debate this in the comments section.

Many of you are probably wondering when I'm going to get to the point. The point, I suppose, is to debate which I, and you, the readers, like better, TV or Movies, Baseball or Football. If I were to throw my hat into the ring, so to speak, it would come as no surprise that I like Television and Baseball respectively. It's not that I dislike Football and Movies, because I actually like watching a little pigskin, but Baseball gives me a sustained enjoyment that I don't believe football can provide.

Long live the story. Narrative will always be king.

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