Historically, I have not been a fan of baseball.
“Competitive paint drying” may have been a phrase I’ve used.
My only real experience with playing it came when I was 12, and was tucked away in the outfield with the other pudgy kids so as to not really have to do anything, except once the ball actually got hit towards me, and as everyone shouted for me to throw it I wound up and threw with all my might, propelling it maybe halfway to second base. Kids are not as adept at hiding their scorn as adults.
The last game I had gone to was probably a decade ago, taking my then-4-year-old brother in law. The thing about 4-year-olds is that they don’t have the greatest attention spans. So when you finally get a 4-year-old to look at the field, when they hear the crack of the bat, they look at home plate, the source of the noise. Except now the ball is sailing across the field, so you have to get them to find a tiny white sphere moving very quickly. By the time they look in the right direction the play is over, and they stare at the pitcher, waiting approximately five seconds before becoming distracted again, until they hear the crack and etc etc.
He asked to leave in the fourth inning and we willingly obliged.
So that was it for baseball and me, until last Friday when I took my son to Coca Cola Field for Scout Night (If you doubt that I grew up in Buffalo: I could not for the life of me remember what it was called now, getting stuck after “Pilot Field, and then North Americare…”). I had heard that the games are greatly improved by drinking, but in addition to not wanting to set a bad example for Cub and Boy Scouts by getting tanked at their event I also, as an owner of an alcohol manufacturer, am wary of making everything about alcohol, all the time, or else it can’t be enjoyable. Beer is great. Alcohol is great. Alcoholism isn’t.
But: it was the first day the Buffalo Brewers Series four pack was released, and it was available at the park, and so it seemed my divine duty to seek it out. I went for the Shortstop Saison, which they were already almost out of (they ration the number of cans sold each game, so they’re available longer).
And then, for reasons having nothing to do with beer, I realized that I quite like baseball.
It was slow, yes. But that was sort of the point. Unlike hockey, where I feel like I have to watch all of the action all of the time, this was more relaxed. I think we missed an entire inning going for ice cream and beer, but there was still plenty of game to watch. We were outside, in beautiful weather. Occasionally there would be a hit and cheering, especially towards the end when we started scoring more.
And in between I sipped my beer, and talked to other people, and enjoyed the sun and breeze. I’d quite like to go to another game, now that I understand exactly what it is I’m going to.
And the fact that they have great beer available too? Well, that’s always a plus.