Monday, 15 September 2008

baseball - yawn!

Believe it or not, I actually went to a baseball game yesterday.

It wasn't far away (at the stadium in Asama that my brother helped build) and I wasn't up to anything special for a couple of hours - the High School I "teach" at were playing the big guns from Massho. Thought I'd go along & lend some moral support.

I admit, I don't like baseball much, and nothing I saw today did much to change my mind. I always think of it as 8 poeple there to throw the ball back to the star - the pitcher. Who may or may not be any good, but how can you tell sitting so far away? I certainly don't get the idea of having to run if you hit the ball - especially if you are going to get out. Why bother? Wait until you get a good hit, then go. But even then, you loose your chance to keep batting. This is the opposite to cricket - good batters keep batting, and tire out the bowler (pitcher)!

Could somebody explain why baseball has to be played in the heat of the middle of the day in the middle of the summer? It's dangerous - especially in a country where keeping hydrated is seen as a weakness.

Could somebody also explain why it is played on dirt? It adds to the heat/discomfort, glare, and chance of a skinned elbow. Hasn't anyone ever heard of grass? (When I ran a football team in Matsumoto we always had to play on gravel pitches, and the number of joint injuries we had was ridiculously high as a result).

How about having a practice between all the action? Ever seen this in a proper sport? Ever seen a footballer having a few practice penalties before the real thing? Or swimmers having a couple of dives before the start of their race? Of course not - so no wonder baseball takes forever - nothing happens even the players get bored.

Now I do like a bit of sportsmanship; I don't get the having to bow at the mob who just beat you. In rugby we used to applaud the opposition off, and they us, regardless who won the match. Our fans would come & support us as much as they could, but not expect to be served drinks! The chants are practiced, the dances co-ordinated, and the obligatory drummer...but why take turns?!! If you want your team to win, shout louder & longer, and outdo the other lot. Taunt them, pick on their players, deride their uniform etc. Get under their skin & help your team find a chink to exploit!

And play until the end! You can't stop just because you're copping a thrashing! I saw a cup match at Alwin a couple of years ago and the game lasted 80 minutes. What about the last 10? Ever see Manchester United win the European Cup in Barcelona? 2 goals in the last 3 minutes...Anyway, my lot took a nine - nil beating on the chin...and packed up in the 8th inning. Which was OK because I was already bored, sunburnt, and happy to remember I had 2 tickets for the Toyota Cup in December.