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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Rushin: Watching a baseball game has become a marathon

_ _ _ (Where Angels Fear to Tread).

But chances are your leisure time is finite, and so is the patience of your family, and you might be forced to choose between watching a four-hour Sox-Yankees game or doing something that doesn’t take nearly as long, like writing She Loves You (as Lennon and McCartney did in three hours) or performing a kidney transplant (which can be done in two to three hours).

Yes, you and I are unlikely to save a life—or create an enduring work of art—in lieu of watching a baseball game. But we might just save a marriage. The singular beauty of baseball is that it has no clocks, but the singular deficiency of my house is that it has several, all in view of my wife and children, and those clocks tick louder during Hour Four of a Yankee-Red Sox games. (Ask not for whom the clock ticks: It ticks for thee.)

Which is why I’m grateful for “Sox in 2,” on NESN, the team’s cable channel, which reruns games in two hours, omitting the other two hours of scratching, tugging, dipping, spitting, staring, squinting and “conferring” on the mound as if it were the site of the G-8 Summit.

What becomes of that excised footage? I like to think that somewhere, in a parallel universe, viewers are getting another version of “Sox in 2,” in which the game is reduced to two hours of nothing but the scratching, tugging, dipping, spitting, staring, squinting and “conferring” on the mound. It could be strangely compelling TV, and a happy alternative to “Sox in 4.”

Repoz Posted: August 10, 2011 at 12:58 PM | 38 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: business, media, red sox, television, yankees

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: August 10, 2011 at 01:35 PM (#3896971)
As a person who follows most Sox games on NESN, the way I watch a baseball game has changed over the years as my life has changed.

In the late 1990s, for example, I would go get a beer with a few friends at a neighborhood pub, talk about the day, baseball, girls, whatever - we didn't hang on every pitch, and the volume was usually off.

Married, but no kids: Stopped going to the bars, but would usually watch the game in the living room sporatically until my wife would fall asleep on the couch, and then I would take the remote and watch the rest of the game.

Married, with babies: I'd offer to take the "shift" that best matched up with the Red Sox schedule. West Coast trip? Great, I'll be in charge of the newborn between 10 pm and 2 am.

Married with kids: Now, I have the game on in the background pretty much every night, but I am almost always doing something productive for most of the game. The dishes. The laundry. The bills. Sending emails or something else work-related. Maybe I'll time my evening gym visit with a 7 pm game time, so I can run for an hour on the treadmill and watch the first two or three innings...

Baseball is very different from football, where each game is so important that you have to commit to watching/listening to the game. To miss a few innings or a few baseball games doesn't dispurt understanding the narrative of the season. Missing even a half of football can make it difficult to engage in a conversation about the Pats for an entire week.

Bottom line: if you have a young family, or a busy professional life, there is no way you can justify sitting in front of a TV for three to four hours four nights a week and watching a baseball game. The value of those hours is simply too high to do nothing.
   2. zack Posted: August 10, 2011 at 01:57 PM (#3896985)
The singular beauty of baseball is that it has no clocks, but the singular deficiency of my house is that it has several, all in view of my wife and children, and those clocks tick louder during Hour Four of a Yankee-Red Sox games. (Ask not for whom the clock ticks: It ticks for thee.)


I like that.

I only ever wash the dishes when there is a game on. Ideal set-up is TV on mute, game on the radio. The radio is usually 5 seconds or so ahead of the TV feed, so you get the better game calling and sounds of radio, and if anything happens you can turn around and catch it "live" on the TV.
   3. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: August 10, 2011 at 02:03 PM (#3896991)
Watching a baseball game has become a marathon

If only! It'd be great to watch Dustin Pedroia collapse into a gasping heap after scoring a run, or see Jorge Posada's legs become increasingly caked with diarrhea.
   4. plim Posted: August 10, 2011 at 02:12 PM (#3897000)
personally, i like watching the game on DVR. If i'm available that night, I'll start watching it about 45-60 minutes after first pitch. then, i fast-forward through the commercials, and most of the time, even between pitches (unless the commentators actually provide some useful insight - which is rare). by the time the game ends, i'm caught up.
   5. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 10, 2011 at 02:19 PM (#3897010)
Ideal set-up is TV on mute, game on the radio.

Or having a pool table ten steps away, with a DVD available to switch to during commercial breaks, and a book or magazine for backup when the game lags and you can turn down the volume.
   6. Ellis Valentine's Bright Future Posted: August 10, 2011 at 02:32 PM (#3897024)
I watch "Jays in 30" on Rogers whenever I can. Love it. Nothing beats having a game leisurely playing out in the background while I do other things, but it isn't always an option.

I also love pitchers that work with a pace. Halladay worked so quick it was a pleasure to go to the SkyDome and know you would be out in 2:00 or 2:30, probably with a victory in hand.
   7. BDC Posted: August 10, 2011 at 02:32 PM (#3897025)
I used to listen on radio a lot while ironing or whatever else it is I need to do around the house. But in recent years it seems like the radio announcers, at least in DFW, have lost interest in the facts of the game. The other night, the Seattle starting pitcher was someone by the extremely unlikely name of Charlie Furbush (that sounds like a Jack Keefe misspelling of something else, frankly). Anyway, the hapless Furbush turns out to be from Maine, so Eric Nadel on Rangers radio started to go down the leaderboard of Maine-born major-leaguers in various statistical categories. This went on for a whole inning, during which Furbush was apparently pulled from the game because men were getting on base, not that we were told anything about it. I think that B-Ref is partly to blame: these guys can sit there and endlessly free-associate based on an infinite supply of trivia ("Among guys whose name sounds like a cartoon character, Furbush is third in career ERA ...")

I mostly go to the park for ballgames nowadays, but if I'm able to watch a TV game at home I do sit there with a book and look up when a pitch is delivered. Takes habituation to baseball and reasonable peripheral vision, but since my job is basically reading books (many of them about baseball) it's a great multi-tasking arrangement.
   8. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 10, 2011 at 02:34 PM (#3897026)
FWIW, I turned on the Royals/Rays game after I put my kid to sleep and they were already in the ninth inning. The game took 1:53, the fastest game in Rays history. I felt cheated out of baseball.

Aside from the Yanks/Red Sox, most games I have seen this year actually seem to be a livelier pace, and of course, offense is down, which helps. Is there any kind of analysis of game times this year compared to past?
   9. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 10, 2011 at 02:35 PM (#3897027)
This isn't an issue for me because I don't really sit down and "watch" a game as if I'm watching a movie. I have it on in the background, I tune in and out, I switch channels and come back, I'm doing something else in the meantime, I leave the house and come back, I've got it on DVR and I'm fastforwarding through commercials (or through the time between pitches), etc.

A baseball game is something you can be half tuned in to, and then watch closely as something happens, and then go back to half tuning it out. I watch playoff games more closely, but even then I don't care how long the game goes.

And in general I find an 8-6 game far more entertaining than a 2-0 game. Though any game close & late is usually good.
   10. SoSH U at work Posted: August 10, 2011 at 02:38 PM (#3897029)
I watch playoff games more closely


Holy crap. You watch the exhibition games more closely than you watch the real ones? (-:
   11. bunyon Posted: August 10, 2011 at 02:43 PM (#3897033)
I also watch games in half the time. Only I excise commercials rather than people playing the game.
   12. Jim (jimmuscomp) Posted: August 10, 2011 at 02:53 PM (#3897039)
Bottom line: if you have a young family, or a busy professional life, there is no way you can justify sitting in front of a TV for three to four hours four nights a week and watching a baseball game. The value of those hours is simply too high to do nothing.


This is nearly exactly how my baseball consumption has evolved. I just don't have time to watch a game any longer. Six year-old triplet boys will do that to you. Sometimes when they get to bed early and the Angels are on the west coast, I can actually watch 2 or 3 innings uninterrupted. Maybe five times a year....
   13. bads85 Posted: August 10, 2011 at 03:01 PM (#3897043)
The MLB Network’s rotation of commercials is about to make me a homicidal maniac. Whatever cell phone company is producing the freak dancing solo in a train terminal needs to be called in front of Congress. I also want to harpoon Winnie the Pooh because of that seven year old Keane song in the trailer. Those who rely on a simple thing of the past for comfort in the present need to get on with the business of living or dying. Go to Sears where it rains cold hard facts, which is just what I am looking for when I am buying appliances. Hum an annoying song, take your Traveler’s Umbrella, and wear your dirt like a man because certain moisture leads to foot fungus in the form of little, evil animated monsters, which can be eradicated with Lamisil.
   14. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 10, 2011 at 03:01 PM (#3897044)
Holy crap. You watch the exhibition games more closely than you watch the real ones? (-:


In general, yes. Though there are plenty of games during the season that I watch just as closely, depending on the situation. But I love playoff baseball, the urgency of it. That doesn't mean we should "count" playoff stats or make HOF decisions based on it... but we've had that discussion already :-)

The thing is that the wildcard destroys a lot of the regular season games, especially those down the stretch. It used to be that every game in August or September when the team was in the division race had an urgency attached to it that was exciting. A lot of that is gone now, as the best teams in the league typically meander through the last couple of months. We've lost a lot.
   15. The Good Face Posted: August 10, 2011 at 03:01 PM (#3897046)
I used to listen on radio a lot while ironing


You iron stuff? Seriously? I mean, I'm pretty sure I own an iron, but I can't remember the last time I used it...

This isn't an issue for me because I don't really sit down and "watch" a game as if I'm watching a movie. I have it on in the background, I tune in and out, I switch channels and come back, I'm doing something else in the meantime,


That's pretty much how I watch as well. Baseball games don't require rapt, unbroken attention for the duration. I usually keep it muted as well, partially because, you know, Michael Kay, but mostly because I don't need any sound at all to enjoy watching baseball and I like to do other stuff like listen to music, read, play a game, etc.
   16. Chipper Jonestown Massacre Posted: August 10, 2011 at 03:10 PM (#3897055)
Maybe this article should be re-titled: "Watching an American League baseball game has become a marathon".
   17. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 10, 2011 at 03:13 PM (#3897058)
I have an iron but no ironing board. It's been years since I've used one.
   18. flournoy Posted: August 10, 2011 at 03:20 PM (#3897063)
Anyway, the hapless Furbush turns out to be from Maine, [...] these guys can sit there and endlessly free-associate based on an infinite supply of trivia ("Among guys whose name sounds like a cartoon character, Furbush is third in career ERA ...")


Charlie Furbush has, at best, the third best cartoon name among Maine-born pitchers.
   19. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 10, 2011 at 03:25 PM (#3897068)

The MLB Network’s rotation of commercials is about to make me a homicidal maniac.


I wonder when advertisers for sporting events will realize that much of their audience watches a lot of the same team over and over again, and thus gets subjected to the same ads over and over again until they want to stab the pitchmen in the eye.
   20. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 10, 2011 at 03:25 PM (#3897069)
If only! It'd be great to watch Dustin Pedroia collapse into a gasping heap after scoring a run, or see Jorge Posada's legs become increasingly caked with diarrhea.

Your ambitions aren't expansive enough: two people died during the NYC Triathlon!!

Anyway, the hapless Furbush turns out to be from Maine, so Eric Nadel on Rangers radio started to go down the leaderboard of Maine-born major-leaguers in various statistical categories. This went on for a whole inning, during which Furbush was apparently pulled from the game because men were getting on base, not that we were told anything about it. I think that B-Ref is partly to blame: these guys can sit there and endlessly free-associate based on an infinite supply of trivia ("Among guys whose name sounds like a cartoon character, Furbush is third in career ERA ...")

Games today are what rain delays used to be.
   21. BDC Posted: August 10, 2011 at 03:28 PM (#3897070)
Hey, I like 100% cotton dress shirts. I iron my ties, too. I don't have to wear them – I'm a college professor, the standard dress code around here is thriftstore polo shirts – but if I want to play the role, I have to do some ironing :)
   22. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: August 10, 2011 at 03:42 PM (#3897078)
("Among guys whose name sounds like a cartoon character, Furbush is third in career ERA ...")


I don't know, he's behind Wilbur Wood, Orval Overall and Dizzy Trout, and they have way more innings.
   23. bads85 Posted: August 10, 2011 at 03:42 PM (#3897080)
I wonder when advertisers for sporting events will realize that much of their audience watches a lot of the same team over and over again, and thus gets subjected to the same ads over and over again until they want to stab the pitchmen in the eye.


Oh, they know -- it is a technique called saturation advertising. Those who watch the ads over and over again are collateral damage for the main targets of saturation advertising -- those that don't stay locked into one channel.

The Pepsi Free commercials with baseball players in Iowa just might be the worst though. Rollie Fingers placing his mustache on that Pepsi dork just begs for a Children of the Corn ending. I’d bet a great deal of money that if the Pepsi Free truck driver was disembolwed, a bunch of talking M&M’s would dance from his intestines.
   24. The Good Face Posted: August 10, 2011 at 03:43 PM (#3897081)
Hey, I like 100% cotton dress shirts. I iron my ties, too. I don't have to wear them – I'm a college professor, the standard dress code around here is thriftstore polo shirts – but if I want to play the role, I have to do some ironing :)


You really go above and beyond! Most college professors I know, you're lucky if they're wearing pants on any given day.
   25. Anonymous Observer Posted: August 10, 2011 at 03:52 PM (#3897086)
and thus gets subjected to the same ads over and over again until they want to stab the pitchmen in the eye.


Except Vince. I could watch him all day long. Unless he's beating up whores.
   26. bunyon Posted: August 10, 2011 at 04:06 PM (#3897098)
You really go above and beyond! Most college professors I know, you're lucky if they're wearing pants on any given day.

Hey, that's totally unfair! Oh, wait, I don't have pants on.


So, Bob either: teaches in a business school, has a part-time administrative position, or is teased by his colleagues. Where I teach, those are the only three possibilities for tie-wearing faculty.
   27. Morty Causa Posted: August 10, 2011 at 05:02 PM (#3897135)
   28. BDC Posted: August 10, 2011 at 05:23 PM (#3897165)
has a part-time administrative position

I'm a director of graduate studies, but that doesn't demand a lot of meetings with the suits. No, I just like being eccentric, and around here that means being excessively conventional :)
   29.  Hey Gurl Posted: August 10, 2011 at 05:43 PM (#3897188)
I actually set up another TV beside my main one so I can just play MLB The Show while the game is on the other TV. Quite enjoy that experience though I still haven't decided which announcers are more annoying.
   30. PreservedFish Posted: August 10, 2011 at 05:58 PM (#3897207)
Oh, they know -- it is a technique called saturation advertising. Those who watch the ads over and over again are collateral damage for the main targets of saturation advertising -- those that don't stay locked into one channel.


I'm not sure they really know. MLB.tv typcially plays the same commercial during every break (which is what, 20 per game?), in a format that does not allow browsing or channel flipping. Last year I saw the same Dick's Sporting Goods ad about 1,000 times.
   31. valuearbitrageur Posted: August 10, 2011 at 06:01 PM (#3897210)
By rule pitchers are required to throw a pitch within twelve seconds, Verducci timed on at 50 seconds without umpire action.
   32. Walt Davis Posted: August 10, 2011 at 08:29 PM (#3897390)
3 hours?

She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah
She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah
She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

You think you lost your love,
Well, I saw her yesterday.
It's you she's thinking of
And she told me what to say.

She says she loves you
And you know that can't be bad.
Yes, she loves you
And you know you should be glad.

She said you hurt her so
She almost lost her mind.
But now she said she knows
You're not the hurting kind.

She says she loves you
And you know that can't be bad.
Yes, she loves you
And you know you should be glad. Ooh!

She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah
She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah
And with a love like that
You know you should be glad.

You know it's up to you,
I think it's only fair,
Pride can hurt you, too,
Apologize to her

Because she loves you
And you know that can't be bad.
Yes, she loves you
And you know you should be glad. Ooh!

She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah
She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah

with a love like that
You know you should
Be Glad!

with a love like that
You know you should
Be Glad!

With a love like that
You know you should
be glad!

Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Yeah, yeah, yeah Ye-ah.
   33. Dr. Vaux Posted: August 10, 2011 at 09:10 PM (#3897417)
Well, there is the music part, too.

Where I am, it seems like a lot of the faculty wear ties frequently. It's about half and half, I'd say. There are a couple I've never seen without one. And it's a music department. I always wear a tie when I teach. On the other hand, the ones who also have administrative duties tend to be the ones who don't wear ties.

At other places I've been, there is little tie-wearing. But now that I'm in the habit of it, I'll go right on doing it, I imagine. I like it.
   34. Morty Causa Posted: August 10, 2011 at 09:56 PM (#3897428)
If Rich Lederer can persevere to get Blyleven into the HOF, maybe if all of us banded together we could as a concerted force could get the game speeded up. Power to the People, right on!
   35. cardsfanboy Posted: August 10, 2011 at 10:03 PM (#3897432)
I like that.

I only ever wash the dishes when there is a game on. Ideal set-up is TV on mute, game on the radio. The radio is usually 5 seconds or so ahead of the TV feed, so you get the better game calling and sounds of radio, and if anything happens you can turn around and catch it "live" on the TV.


I've started doing that this year also. It helps living in a place that gets good radio reception(or more accurately that the Cardinals got rid of their experiment with a crappy radio station)
   36. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: August 11, 2011 at 12:04 AM (#3897504)
My first year teaching college as a PhD student I used to pretty much dress like I was going to a Ramones concert. One student wrote about my "inappropriate attire" in his evaluation forms.
   37. 1k5v3L Posted: August 11, 2011 at 12:38 AM (#3897532)
Rushin: Watching a baseball game has become a marathon
I'm pretty sure Rushin is doing it wrong...
   38. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: August 11, 2011 at 10:44 AM (#3897821)
In Soviet Rushin, Marathon watches you.

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