Super Bowl. Meh.

The Super Bowl is this afternoon – actually, this evening, so it can bleed into prime time. It’s our annual “once in a lifetime” event. A lifetime event that 30/32nds of the universe don’t really care about, because their team isn’t playing. So, why is everyone so whipped up? (Besides the ones who actually went to Vegas or online and have money riding on the outcome.)

The pre-game show is four hours long. The game itself is four hours long. This shows immediately that something is amiss. A football game is one hour in length. So, you expand that by 300% just because it’s on TV? The weekly NFL games are three hours long on TV, but this one is an hour longer. What takes that extra hour? Hmm. Perhaps the commercials are the reason to watch the Super Bowl. Why does it take four hours of pre-game to set the stage? There are only two teams. Are you going to do a biography of each player? Does it really take four hours to remind people who the team with the most points wins?

I don’t get it.

I admit, if I start watching, I will get dragged into it, because there’s just something about watching competition – it’s the same reason people (including me) watch chefs try to make something edible from a mystery basket. But at the same time, it’s a bit silly. One game. For everything. Until next year.

Maybe instead of the pre-game “banter” and “reporting”, they should just re-run last year’s Super Bowl, since nobody remembers who played in it. (Quick! Who won last year? Was it the team in your city? Did you lose money on one of them?) You know who remembers last year? 2/32nds of the universe. And half of them are still pissed.

Enjoy the game. Or the commercials.

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.