I’ve never liked sports but there was always one that I was willing to tolerate and even play. Baseball is known as America’s pastime but among some teens, it’s known as a boring sport. That point made me reluctant to start following it, but I decided to immerse myself in baseball this season.
I want to know about the teams, how it’s played, and general facts about the game. It’s been a little over four weeks and I am hooked. I’ve been following the Washington Nationals and I have to say it’s been fun. The Nats were a laughing stock among baseball fans the first few seasons after moving here from Montreal. They have been turning up the heat, and this season they have as the fans like to say “Ignited their Nat-itude.” The Nationals are the best team in Major League Baseball right now with 14 wins and only eight losses. And that is with many of good players injured, including Ryan Zimmerman, Michael Morse, Chris Marrero, Drew Storen, Chien-Ming Wang, and Cole Kimball.
Conquering the rules for baseball is a lengthy proses that I am still working on. Baseball has been around since the 19th century and, therefore, has collected a plethora of traditions mixed with rules. For instance, the home team lets the visiting team bat first. The pitcher faces each batter trying to get him to make three strikes at the ball. Three strikes and the batter is out. After three batters are out, the teams switch places.
The field is shaped like a diamond. Home plate is where the batter starts and the three bases advance counter clockwise. The fair play area then spreads beyond the diamond into an outfield. If the home team is on the defensive, three players are scattered in right field, center field and left field. The batter’s goal is to make it back to home plate. When he reaches home, his team receives a point. To get home, the batter hits the pitched ball with his bat and runs the bases in the correct order. The opposing team tries to stop the batter from reaching home. If a hit ball is caught before it touches the ground, the batter is out. If the ball hits the ground any defending player can pick it up and tag the batter (or the base he is running toward, but this gets complicated).
April 20, I was able to go to a Nats game and it was amazing. The game is so much easier to follow when you actually know what’s going on. Also, I was surprised at the speed of the game–before I knew it, the game was over. In person, the innings run smoothly. Music and videos play between innings, not to mention a race between Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and Teddy Roosevelt. The only reason baseball games seem long on TV is that commercials take up a good chunk of time. I’m excited to see what I’ll discover next in the world of baseball.