Here & there: Baseball is boring

Finishing touches are put on to the World Series logo on the field at Dodgers Stadium before media day for baseball's World Series between the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers, Monday, Oct. 23, 2017, in Los Angeles. (David Crane/The Orange County Register via AP)

FEATURE — Dodgers vs. Astros. This is baseball. This is the World Series. This is THE American pastime. Well, if you don’t count following @realDonaldTrump on Twitter.

Baseball is a funny sport: The players voluntarily offer themselves up as targets to a small, hard ball hurtling at speeds pushing 90 miles per hour; the coaches, not only the players, wear uniforms; and it’s ridiculously boring to watch on TV.

And then there are all of the spurious superstitions. Atlanta Braves’ pitcher R.A. Dickey names his bats with handles like “Orchrist the Goblin Cleaver” and “Hrunting” for good luck. Former New York Yankee Jason Giambi believed wearing gold thong underwear would get him out of hitting slumps. Back in 2011, the Dodgers attributed the end of a five-game losing streak to having a garden gnome in their dugout.

The superstitions are so powerful they even bleed into amateur life. A kid in San Diego pitched a no-hitter while chewing a new piece of Double Bubble between each inning so a family friend immediately went to Sam’s Club and bought a 60-lb. tub of said bubble gum for him.

All of it is enough to think Americans are idiots for loving such a game.

But watching a baseball game in person? Now that is something else entirely.

As a young girl, I was lucky enough to be a regular at Dodger Stadium. Mostly because my dad had a deep and abiding love for the game. That meant he was willing to drive the six-hour roundtrip to see a single game … through L.A. traffic. In a large, blue conversion van with five kids.

We’d eat hot dogs, stretch wildly at the seventh inning, devour chocolate malt ice cream from a little cup with an even smaller wooden spoon and jockey to catch the quintessential baseball snack thrown by the famous Roger “The Peanut Man” Owens, the performing vendor who could hit his mark from two sections over and 15 rows down – and usually did it with an under-the-leg pass.

Being at Dodger games was magical. That was never more the case than Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.

My sister and I started chanting, from our seats in the top, open-air tier along the first base line, for Kirk Gibson at least 10 minutes before he actually came out onto the field.

I was convinced he could save my beloved Dodgers from losing to that muscly Mark McGwire and his beefy Oakland A’s. All Tommy Lasorda needed to do was put him in – swollen right knee and bad left hamstring and all.

Logic didn’t matter. Nothing else mattered in that moment except getting Gibson on the field.

Miraculously, Lasorda listened to us. (Yes, I know he didn’t really listen to us.) And miraculously we were still in the stadium to see it. (My dad said no one leaves a World Series game until the last out.)

Out of the dugout walked Gibson, mustached and limping, to a tremendous roar from the crowd. He hadn’t even come out for the pregame introductions because he was so injured. But there he was. Walking to the plate, about to brave the white bullet to save us all.

The next seven minutes and 13 seconds were both torture and ecstasy.

Gibson battled with Dennis Eckersley to a 3-2 count, foul-tipping multiple balls and waiting several times between pitches as Eckersley checked the runner at first base.

I thought, if I cheered hard enough, if I clapped hard enough, if I willed hard enough … if, if, if.

And then Gibson connected – we heard the decisive crack from our high perch before we saw it – and sent the ball right over the right field fence.

As Gibson cantered around the bases like an injured foal and pumped his right arm, legendary Dodger announcer Vin Scully proclaimed, “In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened.”

And that’s what baseball is at its core: An opportunity for the improbable – and even the impossible.

So in 2017 in the midst of nuclear threats from North Korea, intrusion into our democracy by the Russians and terrorist bombings around the world, maybe baseball is just what we need.

Go Dodgers!

Kat Dayton is a columnist for St. George News, any opinions given are her own and not representative of St. George News.

Email: katdayton@gmail.com | news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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8 Comments

  • Vili October 29, 2017 at 9:16 am

    Great opinion post. Baseball is so much easier to watch than golf, tennis, Nascar, volleyball. It’s also as American as cotton candy and hot dogs

  • JJODL October 29, 2017 at 10:46 am

    The only program on TV where they can cram 15 minutes of excitement into 3 hours.

  • Dolly October 29, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    So Kat, you must have lead a charmed life. I tried in vain to get those 1988 Dodger tickets. Stood in line for about 8 hours at the Broadway in downtown LA waiting for Ticketmaster to open. When the store’s doors finally opened, the crowd rushed to the escalator to get to the Ticketmaster booth upstairs. At the top of the escalator, which ascended into the fine china and crystal department, I was unceremoniously & quite forcefully shoved, by the person behind me, into a beautiful table display of expensive dishes. I was almost trampled by the remaining crowd while my husband tried his best to block the onslaught. Never got the tickets….those rude souls that had been behind me in line for those long 8 hours had managed to get every last one before I could stumble to my feet and find a place in the Ticketmaster line. That was back in the day when a mortal middle-class Dodger fan could afford a World-Series ticket. Nowadays, tickets are going for $2000.00 and up! So, while watching on TV may be totally boring to the likes of you, some of us are grateful just to have that TV to watch on, while we make our own hotdogs and popcorn. Enjoy the rest of the Series!

  • DB October 29, 2017 at 4:37 pm

    I’m with you Kat. Being there is much better than watching on TV, though I was glad to have tuned back in for the last inning Saturday night. Being there, you’re immersed in the whole thing, as opposed to TV with a couple announcers attempting to fill every second with needless banter and statistics. However, I do remember going to Dodgers games as a child while Dad was listening to Mr Scully on his transistor radio. He wore an earpiece, however!

  • utahdiablo October 29, 2017 at 9:09 pm

    Only Boring if your Team didn’t make the Series….but either way, more than enough fans to fill your shoes if you decide to never watch again…now with that said, Play Ball!

  • hoaganp October 29, 2017 at 11:08 pm

    It is the bottom of the eighth in game 5. My Astros are up 12-9. Watching on TV is a gut wretching roller coaster when you have a game like this. Top of the ninth. We need three stinking outs to go up 3-2 in the series. I love St. George, but I do miss going to batting practice before Astros games with my boys or granddaughter in Houston. I love baseball…except when we walk the Dodger’s lead off hitter in the top of the ninth…..I’m kind of hating it right now. I’m liking things better with a strike out for the first out in the top of the ninth. Gut wrenching…….two run homer for the Dodgers. The score is now 12-11. I hate baseball at the moment. I need to be in bed. More gut wrenching….Dodgers get a double to put the tying run on second. I hate baseball. Two outs now. I don’t hate it quite so much. Having trouble breathing now with 2 strikes on the batter. Baseball sucks. The Dodgers tie it. Bottom of the ninth. I have never seen anything like this. Baseball is boring? Not tonight.

  • Real Life October 30, 2017 at 9:10 am

    Baseball has been WAY more exciting than the NFL lately. And you couldn’t pay me to watch an NBA game.

  • mctrialsguy October 30, 2017 at 11:10 am

    Baseball is boring for sure, unless there is enough suspense to wake me like the recent series games, and NFL or NBA, for those I’d rather watch I Love Lucy re-runs ( : – ).

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