Java Ideas

A moment for rebuttal please?

on August 28, 2010

I’m trying something new, so let’s see how this goes.

I recently read an article in The Boston Globe titled, “The most boring moment in all of baseball.”  As someone who once found baseball boring on television, but then wound up changing their mind, the article piqued my interest.

However, as I read it, I became more and more displeased.

For starters, the article begins with, “The question [What makes baseball boring?] is largely ignored among lovers of the sport.”  I don’t think that baseball lovers ignore what makes baseball boring, but that they don’t think it is.  After all, how many people love something they find boring?

Secondly, the meat of the article begins with “When it comes to the game itself, fans prefer to focus on the exciting moments.”   This seems to me a “well, no duh” statement.  After all, people tend to focus on exciting moments in life; the fact they draw your attention is why they are labeled “exciting”.   

Despite being a bit skeptical, I continued to read, intrigued by what this writer could view as the most boring part of baseball.  The punchline?  Ball number two.  That’s right, when a batter’s ball count goes from one to two, that’s the most boring part.  I understand the argument that it doesn’t really do anything.  A 2-0 count, a 2-1 count, a 2-2 count: none of those are truly the pitcher falling behind the batter.  There is still a lot of baseball to play with this batter.  However, I disagree that this makes the play boring.  After all, it doesn’t explain why ball number two is more boring than ball number one.  I feel that any individual pitch isn’t going to be amazing.  You have to look at the pitches together.  Balls one, two and three are all necessary to get to number four.  It’s the same with getting that third strike: you need strikes one and two before you can get to number three.

According to the article, I am a minority in this thinking.  So be it.  However, I will offer up another possibility for what could be the most boring part of baseball.  I may not have statistics to back it up, but “boring” is only a matter of opinion.

If you have ever watched a baseball game, you should have noticed the time span between pitches.  There’s nothing like it in the other three professional sports.  The rest of the play, you are wondering “Will he swing or will he not swing?  Will it be a ball or will it be a strike?”  If contact is made, you wonder if a fielder will catch it or if the batter will get a hit.  If the batter walks, there is another man on base. 

That lapse of seemingly nothingness, actually has a purpose.  One purpose is to give the pitcher time to communicate with the catcher to decide what pitch to throw.  Then it gives the pitcher time to concentrate so he doesn’t rush his pitch.  Rushing a pitch will more times than not lead to a wild pitch, and in a worst case scenario, a wild pitch can lead to an injury.  Another purpose it serves is to try to get the batter off his game.  By postponing the throwing of the ball, the batter could get antsy and swing early or relax too much and swing late.    The league has realized this, and in 2007 changed the ruling so that a pitcher could take no more than 12 seconds in between pitches with no runners on base.

Being bored in baseball, I think, is not a matter of labeling one moment as less bearable than all the rest, but a matter of not realizing how important each moment is to the overall game.  Not every moment will be worthy of fireworks, but a team doesn’t get to the end without everything that precedes.

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