Time to think

Attendance seems lower at the AirHogs games this year – not a lot, but noticeable. Part of the issue is their schedule sucks – the season started with a three-game home stand and then they left town for ten days. Not exactly a momentum builder. 

Perhaps the reason baseball is being touted as “going away” or “fading” is that in order to enjoy a game, you have to think. This is contrary to football (big guys hitting each other), basketball (tall guys in shorts running around) and hockey (figure skaters with sticks.) 

Baseball does not have a time limit. You play nine innings, no matter how long it takes, unless it rains. You can’t run out the clock. 

There actually is strategy in baseball, even though at first glance, it’s just a guy swinging a bat at a ball. You can change pitchers. You can change hitters. You can change runners. You can try to steal. You can bunt or swing away. You have to think about it. If you can’t think, the manager or coach will tell you what to do. 

Baseball is a statistician’s dream because everything is a number. How many pitches have been thrown? What’s the pitcher’s ERA? What’s the batter’s batting average? slugging average? 

I’m surprised baseball isn’t more popular just because there are so many items you can wager on. 

The AirHogs played two seven-inning games in less than five hours last night. The Super Bowl can take longer than that. 

I’ve never seen the point of basketball – it was invented to have something to do on a rainy day, and it shows. The winner is the team that shoots the best because you basically just tramp up and down the court, trading shots. 

Hockey would probably be more enticing if we had ice around here. Since I never skated, I never saw the point. 

I was rattling off statistics to a guy next to me last night, and he asked if I had played baseball growing up. I think he was surprised I didn’t (I played soccer – which is great exercise, but is also tramping up and down the field, shooting and missing. I played soccer for eight years, but I don’t really like watching it.) 

You can get into baseball without having played it. You can progress from watching to scoring to keeping statistics and doing predictive modeling in less than a 100-game season. 

There’s just one problem with baseball – you have to think. Strategy, statistics and math require the use of your brain. 

That may be baseball’s problem. Perhaps it’s really our problem.