Opinion: Seventh-inning snooze


I love baseball, and now with a few rule changes, the games are faster and even more exciting. I knew it would be fruitless, but I was hoping to entice my wife, Mary Ellen, to enjoy the sport so we could watch a few games together. So, one day in the car, I attempted to pique her interest.

“Would you watch a baseball game with me one night?” I asked.

“How long does a game last?”

“Well, no one knows exactly.”

“How could that be? Haven’t they been playing baseball for over a hundred years? Can’t somebody time it?

“It’s not like football or basketball. Theoretically, the game can go on forever.”

“Maybe it just seems that way?”

“Let’s try again. Ask me any questions you might have about baseball.”

“OK, why do they call it a strike when the guy doesn’t hit it, but in bowling it’s a strike when he does?”

“Again, I have no clue.”

“And why four balls and only three strikes?”

“I don’t know that, either.”

“Maybe my questions are too hard, Dick. Here’s an easy one: When is the World Series?”

“They don’t play those games until November, after each baseball team has played 162 games in the regular season.”

“Then when is the Super Bowl?”

“That’s in February after each football team has played 17 games. Again, in the regular season.

“That sounds like an easier job than 162 games. Maybe it’s hard to find guys willing to work every Sunday. Dick, is your favorite team in the National Group or American Group?”

“They are not groups. They are called leagues, the American League and the National League.

“What’s the difference?”

“Again, you have stumped me. It’s a hard question to answer.”

“Why is that a difficult question? Nordstrom and Kohl’s are in different leagues. Any fan of shopping knows that.”

“OK, here’s one difference. The American League has a DH, a designated hitter. The pitcher does not bat. Someone bats for him.”

“That doesn’t seem very fair to the pitcher.”

“The pitcher doesn’t care.”

“Well, if he doesn’t care, he shouldn’t be playing.”

“By the way, Mary Ellen, there was a perfect game a few nights ago.”

“What does that mean?”

“The pitcher allowed no hits, no runs, no walks. Not a single person reached base. Everything was perfect.”

“Sounds perfectly boring. Why would anyone go to a game like that?”

I couldn’t really answer most of Mary Ellen’s questions. As I continued talking about baseball, I glanced over, and she looked like she was nodding off. We pulled over and I drove.

That night we watched a game together. I explained to her the fascinating intricacies of baseball. It was a close one between the archrival Cubs and Dodgers. I don’t know the final score. I fell asleep in the seventh inning.