Tuesday, April 7, 2009

FAQ: Confessions of a Fan of The Game

RockMNation quoted my report on the RPI Needs Report from BoydsWorld.com, with this editorial comment:

Trripleplay at SimmonsField, doing his best to stay optimistic

And here's an expanded version of my reply there:

Some people think I'm an optimist, even a Pollyanna, about MU Baseball. Some have even called me an apologist. A certain persistent axe-grinder on Tigerboard.com has accused me of being a closet relative (or worse) of Tim Jamieson.

And I say, Why not be optimistic? The better the team plays, the more interesting the games.

And that, my friends, is what it’s all about for me. Not the championships, not the regionals, not the polls. The crazed obsession of many fans with win-at-all-costs and anything-less-than-perfect-is-failure -- those approaches to the game are totally foreign to me.

Bottom line: I like to watch entertaining baseball. For me, it's all about The Game. That's why I'm somewhat of a purist, as my closest baseball friends would quickly tell anyone. I love the beauty and symmetry and elemental excitement of the game of baseball.

That’s why Johnny Wholestaff catches my attention. It’s entertaining to see a coaching staff come up with a genuinely new and unique twist a common but usually spontaneous (borne of frustration and desperation) application of the rules of baseball .

That’s why I like to watch Kyle Gibson (or Aaron Crow or Max Scherzer) – they make the game fun to watch.

A clothesline throw by Aaron Senne from right field to nail a runner trying to reach third base is enough to make me ignore his struggles at the plate. Same with Coleman throwing out a base stealer.

And the opportunity to watch the best fielding third baseman the Tigers have had in my 20 years of following the team - you can't buy that on eBay.

My favorite Tiger player of all time was Jayce Tingler, an outfielder and lead-off hitter who was too short to ever have a realistic shot at the Show. But anyone who ever saw Jayce lay down a bunt for a hit - over and over again - will tell you he was fun to watch. He took a basic baseball skill and refined into something unique and entertaining.

Win, Lose, Draw, just show me a good time and I'll be happy.

I’d probably have been an avid and happy fan of the Mets in the early years – they sucked, but they were fun to watch.

I'm sure the coaching staff won't be posting this little soliloquy on the locker room bulletin board to inspire the team - they probably want the guys to care passionately about winning. And I do too: they're more fun to watch if they care about winning.

My passion for The Game is the reason I continue to do this blog. It enables me to indulge my obsession with the details of the game, the minutiae surrounding baseball.

When this blog stops being fun, I'll drop it like a pop fly in the glove of a nepotistic Jayhawk.

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