There’s only one team in the whole league from Canada, so why is it a World Series?
While we were in India, there was a big cricket match between England and India. India was the top-ranked team in the world. It was a series of four matches to be played over a period of weeks. By the end of the trip, with a little help from Wikipedia, I had started to figure cricket out a little bit. Overs, boundaries, bowlers, scoring four or six runs at a time – I had acquired at least enough knowledge to no longer be mystified and to be able to appreciate (but not enough to truly enjoy) the game. One of the things that I found and still find odd is that a game can last five days, with morning and afternoon sessions broken up by a lunch break. A batsman can bat until he makes an out – sometimes scoring hundreds of runs in a single appearance.
Over the past few years, I’ve watched less and less baseball every year. Watching soccer games, having tickets to the Dallas Stars, and generally being too busy are part of the issue. The glut of 162 regular season games, the length of a game (sometimes as much as four hours), the long stretches of a game with little action – I just lost some interest. However, this year I did actually make it out to the Ballpark to see the Rangers a few times. As the playoffs began, I found myself being sucked in to the excitement and drama. Not enough to go spend a wad of money on Rangers clothing, though.
And last night, watching game 5 of the World Series, I realized what makes baseball a compelling game and why I still would pick baseball over cricket. In those five day matches, there were big plays and routine plays, but I never felt any urgency, no immediacy. Watching the World Series, especially the close games (we can forget about game 3 this year), there is tension on every pitch, not just every now-and-then. Any time the ball is thrown to the plate, the game could change, and with the game, the series itself. And maybe that’s part of the problem with the regular season – too many games destroy the sense of urgency, the drama that baseball needs to compel our attention. I just know that right now, at our house, we’re watching every pitch.