Sunday, March 30, 2008

Baseball Is Back!

But that's no reason for this puff piece from HatGuy.

At last, our lovable pastime, is here again

We're in the title, and already HatGuy is having annoying grammar disorders.

There is no better team game than this most American of sports

Ironic that baseball is largely an individual game, eh?

It is a game of geometry,

This is the way we're starting out a "baseball is awesome" column? "It is a game of geometry???" Yeah, there's shapes....there's like....lines....and diamonds (funny story about diamonds...they're like tilted squares!), and spheres too!

ESPN trailer: Get ready for some geometrical action right here on ESPN tomorrow at 1 PM when the Hexagons duel it out with the Tetrahedrons!

a game of subtlety,

That's debatable....baseball is pretty freakin straightforward in both rules and analysis.

a game of power, a game of strategy, a game of speed

Very yes, less yes, much less yes.

a game of skill

Wow. This is what separates baseball from.....sitting in a fucking garage and flipping a coin.

a game of deception, a game of visual beauty.

Yes, and aw what the hell, who doesn't think baseball is beautiful?

It is baseball, and there is no better team game than this most American of sports.

You said that already.

Football is more popular. Basketball, when played as we’ve seen in the NCAA tournament, is terrifically exciting.

Bitch slap: NBA and NCAA basketball regular season.

Hockey is jam-packed with collisions and breathtaking speed. Soccer is a passion bred like religion into its fans from before they are even aware that they are alive.

But baseball is the best.


Now HatGuy. No matter how much I agree with you, you have to accept that this is an opinion and not pure fact.

We remind ourselves of this truth

No. No. No. No. No.

as we do every year when the calendar reaches April, and the game that will carry us through spring and summer and into fall begins its languid journey.

HatGuy: ::runs into his editor's office, sees note that says, "Dear bastard Hattigan. I am sick of looking at your fedora, and have left to work for Jay Mariotti of the Chicago Sun-Times. Sincerely, Jeffrey Conway. 3/24/2005"::

HatGuy: Whatever, my grammar's perfect through spring and summer and into fall begins its languid journey. I don't need Jeffrey.

If the sun is shining on opening day, there is a thrill to the sight of the sharp white lines that outline an emerald diamond populated by figures in unblemished uniforms.

"Optimist in March" -- a poem by Edgar Allen Celizic.

Football is a game of drives and marches.

Uh huh....

Basketball is one of possessions.

So is football.

Baseball is one of anticipation and journeys.

I now see the difference between these three sports. Thank you, Mike.

Bart Giamatti, the former commissioner of baseball, wrote eloquently about that journey that begins with the batter standing at home, trying first to leave it and then to get back — to be safe once again at home. For him, it was a grand metaphor of life, this circuitous journey that could be fraught with danger and obstacles, that could demand daring and bravery to complete.

::sniff:: That's just so....so beautiful.

The ball itself is just the agent of play. In other games, you score by putting the ball — or the puck — somewhere important. In baseball, you score by putting the players somewhere important. Even when you hit a home run, the ball itself doesn’t score. Its journey out of the field of play merely gives the players a free pass to go home again.

I don't know about the rest of you lunatics, but this is why normal people like me and Mike Celizic find baseball so fascinating.

Then there is the anticipation of baseball, the gradual build-up to moments of critical mass that the savvy fan can see coming.

Like, say, that late-game 3-pointer that crushes the enemy team, or the field goal attempt as time winds down in football with your team down by 2?

You can look ahead in baseball as you can’t in any other sport.

He's about to list examples. I am going to give you a literally parallel basketball example for each.

Count the outs remaining,

Count the minutes remaining.

figure out what your team needs to do to get its big guns up

Figure out what your team needs to do to free up your best player for shots.

check the pitch count, estimate when the bullpen is going to have to get involved.

Check the "minutes played" stat for players, and also "fouls", estimate when bench players are going to have to step in for starters.

Your superstar in any other sport is a constant threat to score. In baseball, you have to wait your turn, and there’s something really cool about that. That’s one reason it’s so much fun to play. Even the worst player on the team gets his times at bat, and the worst player in the field will discover that the ball will find him. Unlike other sports, you can’t hide your weaknesses; everybody on the field is important, everybody can be there at the critical moment when the game is won or lost.

What HatGuy is saying here is technically true. But one bad offensive lineman can derail your offense in football. Also, one bad defensive player can be absolutely abused in basketball. So yeah, there's something cool about the worst hitter in the lineup needing to bad with the game on the line, but it's not like you can just hide your weaknesses in other sports.

The rest isn't terrible, but it does offer a description of Celizic visiting baseballreference.com for the first time and getting himself horribly confused in things he doesn't understand.

6 comments:

Jeff said...

Bill Plashke is unimpressed.

slwg said...

Maybe you need a new label just for Celizic: "Punctuation that, didn't need to, be used"

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure its the people and not the balls that score in football. Also the majority of the stuff he said applies to cricket. Which, as everyone knows, is beloved by middle America.

Andy said...

Holy Shitballs, that article was so bad I couldn't even stomach your entire rebuttal. God he's, so, terrible.

Plus...how are you gonna mention shapes and not mention a truncated dodecahedron? That's exciting.

Passive Voice said...

hehe. "commissioner of baseball". that's not a thing that exists!

pnoles said...

slwg - I really like the label idea....problem is, commas can't be inserted mid-label, because then blogger thinks it's a new label.

anon - The people definitely do score in football....but wait....the ball and player score together as one! ZOMG!!! It's a supersport!

andy - I have offended all supporters of the truncated dodecahedron, and I am truly sorry. It will not happen again (I can say that with a high level of certainty....).