As I’ve mentioned before, baseball can be as interesting, strategically and humanely speaking, as chess. And every bit as slow. If the game happens to mean anything — take Game 7 of the NLCS, for example — it proceeds like water torture. You don’t care, but you do care, just from the sustained period of heightened tension-without-action that it entails.
If hockey were baseball, a playoff game would go like this:
“Gretzky has a chance at a breakaway here…
(10 seconds elapse)
Gretzky takes a shot on goal, but it goes wide. He will go back down the ice and think about trying again.
Meanwhile, his opponents are wondering if they might factor in the play, or if their goalie will handle this. There’s guy in the stands who’s dressed crazy. I tell ya’, they have crazy fans here.
Here’s Gretzky’s second breakaway attempt. It’s coming up right here. Just a moment. He skates in. He takes a shot. It’s saved and the goalie covers it. Don’t worry, Gretzky will get another chance later. But first Jari Kurri will get a chance…after they pull the goalie and this commercial break.“
Obviously, baseball has somewhat apparent strategy, plus tension, going for it. But sure as hell not pace. Frankly, it’s nice, but it’s a sport for retired people. Maybe all the boomers who start to retire will give it a boost.
Let’s See What the Drunks Have to Say!
Still, if watching baseball is water torture (yet with some sadistic pleasure-reward), watching local TV post-game coverage is a sustained form of castration. It is painful from the beginning, when they cut to some local bar, where a reporter is staring blankly into the camera, and a crowd of drunk revelers are waiting patiently — and quietly — behind the reporter. Until they hear the reporter start speaking and realize they are “live” and — most importantly — ON TV!!!
Woo-hoo! We’re on TV!! Suddenly everybody starts shouting, giving very belated credibility (but this is local news, after all) to the reporter’s feeble contention that “They are *still* going crazy here at [____’s Bar of Tools] after the Cardinals’ thrilling win tonight. I tell you, Bob, these people are pumped [as of 10 seconds ago when we cut to the live shot]. It’s quite a scene.”
If that bit of useless coverage isn’t enough, they inevitably interview the most excitable aspiring TV personality in the bar, who is either a drunk frat guy or a drunk secretary, and they babble on about how “Yadi Molina is so cute/such a stud, and the Cardinals are going all the way, baby. The Cardinals are going all the way. Woooo! They’re going all the way!”
It’s painful. Yet I sit through it because what I’d really rather see is locker room celebration — not dumb locker room interviews for sound bites, mind you (“Yadi, buddy, I’m interrupting your special moment with your teammates, now talk to me about the game.”).
Rather, I’d be content with just live, un-narrated shots of the locker room celebration. I like watching people celebrate a job well done (versus a game well watched). That, is good TV, to me. Surely I’m not alone.