Baseball season is over. Finally. Thank goodness. I think it’s hard to deny how awful watching that game can be. The immense boredom it oozes has on more than one occasion caused me to reach for the dictionary just to make sure that I correctly understand the definition of the word game. Because I don’t know about you, but I was raised to understand that that word connotes some degree of fun. And—let’s get honest—the level of fun provided by watching baseball falls somewhere between trying on dress slacks and Swiffering.
One of the least tolerable aspects of the professional baseball season is the length. A 162-game regular season sounds like something that started out as a joke and eventually everyone forgot that it was a joke and so it gradually became kind of normal, just like faux hawks or Bill O’Reilly or anything that’s a throwback to the 80s. Add to that an eight-week spring training and a post season of approximately equal duration and the whole racket spans something like thirteen months—virtually every moment of which I find torturous. “Hey, here’s a sport that is super boring. But don’t worry; there’s a freaking ton of it.”
When fans discover the loathing I harbor for baseball they invariably respond by referring to their beloved pastime as “the thinking man’s game.” Somewhat offended at their implication, I typically reply by asking them what their least favorite food is. “Oh, so you hate pineapple, huh? Well, it just so happens that pineapple is the thinking man’s food. How unfortunate that your personal preference contradicts such a completely arbitrary assertion and therefore disqualifies you from intelligence.” As if baseball is so darn complex that the only explanation for not liking it is an inability to comprehend. I plangently disagree. If I can figure out what those daffy Ikea assembly instructions are getting at, I’m sure I can figure out baseball. As is the case with Lost, it's not that I can't follow what's going on; I just don’t care.
Fans refer to it as America’s pastime. I think that’s a fairly antiquated characterization. If Americans are anything like me, they don't often want to simply pass time. And when they do, that kind of mindlessness is now reserved for activities such as Will It Blend? and Nicolas Cage movies. These days we view our free hours as valuable. People want to be entertained, enlightened, or at the very least briefly deadened to the painful disappointment that is their respective daily lives. But none of those experiences are provided via the all-too-real halt of the sixth inning in which Jonathan Paplebon warms up by pitching to no one for twelve minutes. It’s unflinching archaicism like that that causes individual games to stretch on seemingly forever—three, four, five hours in length. And who in the world can afford to invest that much time into a single sporting event? It’s utterly preposterous. Unless, of course, we're talking about football.