How you can enjoy watching baseball on TV | SummitDaily.com
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How you can enjoy watching baseball on TV

DEVON O'NEIL
Summit Daily/Reid Williams
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How to enjoy watching baseball on TV: They treat it as if it’s little old lady Sue Johanson talking on the Oxygen channel about their unmentionables. And I ask, why?Why do ardent sports fans, the type that will watch a race car make the same series of turns for four consecutive hours, react with such dismay when they see a baseball game on their TVs? I give you this exchange between me and my friend William, two above-average athletics aficionados.Me: “You ever watch baseball on TV, William?”William: (an astonished look on his face) “Yeah, if I’m really, really bored. Why, can you actually sit and watch a game?”

At this, William laughed, obviously and honestly believing there was no way on earth I would answer yes.But I did. And I do. Does that make me famous?No one can argue that baseball is best seen in person – perhaps more than any other sport, the quality of your experience when you’re at the ballpark instead of on the couch is notably different for America’s Pastime. But it is still a treat to view a game on the tube, despite what the majority says.I am here today to tell you why.– If you wait, they will come – Baseball is a game of moments, of tiny instants when the action amazes. For the most part these moments don’t happen often enough to please anyone whose patience is stuck in toddler time, but since we’re all adults here, I’m counting on you to dig deep. That RBI triple that barely escaped the right fielder’s otherworldly speed and all-out dive wouldn’t be as cool if it happened every other play, believe me. Still, how do you get through those dull moments? This is where the craft is born.

— Count sheep – Pitches are actually ancient descendants of sheep, which explains how the trade of counting a pitcher’s throws came about. OK, not really, but by counting a pitcher’s pitches you’re not only preparing yourself for a career as a big-league bench coach, you’re keeping up your counting skills as well! Bonus!– Three balls, two strikes … yikes? – No. Until you rid yourself of your fear of full counts, or anything past a first-pitch swing for that matter, you’ll never be all the baseball fan you can be. Want the deep count. Cross those fingers. Need it. Believe it. Two-strike foul balls are your friend.– The decision is yours – Think all those shots of the manager in the dugout looking like he’s asleep with his eyes open are pointless? Not so. Although only a few of us know this for sure, TV producers long ago decided to include such images in order to promote maximum thought from their viewers. In other words, it’s up to us to decide whether Joe Torre is lost in thought about Iraq’s sovereign nation, the new C2 cola, or who’s who among Mary Kate and Ashley Olson.– Dingers mean more – Home runs are the best form of one-on-one triumph in sports. But seeing how they don’t look or sound as cool on TV as they do in person, you must hope they lead to more. I’m a pacifist by trade, born in a nonviolent hospital room and currently housed in a demilitarized condominium, but a good brushback followed by a bench-clearing fracas never hurt the eyes to watch. — Late-inning egos – Any matchup between a good hitter and a good pitcher is worth your concentration, regardless of its outcome. But in the late innings, the egos that drive these talented players make their battles even more intriguing. What’s not to love about Barry Bonds, armored as ever, staring out at Eric Gagne like he’s the baddest ass to hit sports since Mr. T fought Rocky. Why? Because you know Eric Gagne is thinking the same, even if he isn’t as outwardly brash with his show. Egos drive much of our interest in sports, mainly because deep down we enjoy seeing athletes with big egos fail.

— The postgame handshake – Baseball is the only major sport where the winning players and coaches shake each others’ hands after every game in such a choreographed manner. (What a great tradition …) Still, I’ve decided that after so many wins, even “Attababy, Chico” gets old. So although it hasn’t happened yet, I tune in to the shake in hopes it will someday be drastically altered in a way that entertains me.And really, that’s what watching baseball on TV is all about: Hoping, waiting, praying that you’ll soon be entertained. Plus, I can’t stand that little old Johanson lady telling me how it was done in the ’30s.Devon O’Neil can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 231. or at doneil@summitdaily.com.


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