Tag Archives: baseball

On deck

A television series about the first female player in Major League Baseball?

Of course it premieres in 2016, the first year we have a credible chance of electing a female president. No coincidence there.

pitchBut when I watched the pilot episode on demand, I was pleasantly surprised.

First of all, the show is filled with supporting actors that I love seeing on TV.  Bob Balaban (Best in Show). Dan Lauria (The Wonder Years). Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Saved by The Bell…okay, Franklin & Bash). Mark Consuelos (Kelly Ripa’s husband).

And the star of Pitch, Kylie Bunbury, is up for the task. I like her. And I’m intrigued by her character’s story (and the pilot episode’s big twist).

I do worry, though, that the pilot was a bit too complete — how many stories are left to tell?  I guess we’ll see if we stick around — wait for the baseball metaphor — for extra innings.

Had to do it.

 

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On the ball

For a sport with such small balls, golf is an unusually large target.

cu golf ballPeople who don’t watch it or understand the nuances of the game are quick to dismiss it as boring.

My mother never understood why I watched golf on TV as a young child. But if she sat with me for even 30 minutes, she would soon be ‘oohing’ and ‘ahhing’ over some of the precision shots the pros could pull off.

And in television golf tournaments, you see a lot of golf.  The cameras jump from tee to fairway to green, so you get to see sometimes 50+ different golfers swing the club or putt every 30 seconds or less.

So, contrary to what you might think, there is a lot of action in golf.

In contrast, televised baseball and football games — America’s sports — mostly involve standing around.  A Wall Street Journal study calculated that a baseball fan will see 17 minutes and 58 seconds of action over the course of a three-hour game. And the football audience?  A paltry 11 minutes per game.

So for pure entertainment value, swing for swing, I’d put the US Open Golf Championship up against a baseball game any day. I’ve watched both, and I feel pretty good about my chances.

Welcome home

Two more wins.

KC Royals

#TaketheCrown

#Believe

One win away

KC Royals

TAKE THE CROWN.

TODAY!!

Tokyo, Day 3: Jimbocho, Marunouchi

I was free to play tourist today, so I began in the Jimbocho district where my conference hotel was centered.
2014-07-26 08.33.10My first stop was within walking distance, so I grabbed a water from one of the vending machines that occupy every corner of Tokyo.

(It turned out to be apple-favored…one of the perils of not reading Japanese.)

2014-07-26 08.29.55I don’t know who this guy is, but he must be a pretty big deal.  His face was plastered on every other building along my walk.

He’s cute.  Love the bangs, too.

Most tourists visit Japan in spring or fall; now I understand why.  I didn’t have a long walk, but even in the early morning hours, temperatures were in the 90’s with staggering humidity.  I quickly adopted the Japanese practice of walking with an umbrella.  It really helps.

My first stop was the Koishikawa Korakuen, a 70,000 square meter formal garden.

2014-07-26 09.05.30This guy was the first to greet me along the stone pathways.  It was ten degrees cooler inside the garden, so I was glad I took my guidebook’s recommendation to come early in the day, before the noise from nearby Tokyo Dome (baseball and amusement park) could be heard.

2014-07-26 09.30.43You can see the Dome in the background of this shot of a lily pond.

When I first came upon it, I thought a spaceship was hovering nearby.  It was very surreal.

After I left the garden, I decided to take a peek at the Tokyo Dome grounds.

There was an 11 a.m. baseball game, and fans were already streaming into the grounds.  I got a better look at the roller coaster, but was particularly fascinated by a sculpture near the entrance to the park.

2014-07-26 09.52.05Okay.

Hmmm.

I couldn’t find a placard with an explanation for the sculpture.  So, let’s take the highroad and say it is some kind of flower.

Or sea creature.

Or water faucet.

It’s hard to un-see it, I know that.

On my walk back, I checked out some of the used bookstores that line the streets of Jimbocho, which is considered the center of book publishing in Tokyo.  Then I stopped by the hotel to make a complete clothing change — totally necessary — before heading to the Marunouchi District.

imperial moatThe Imperial Palace was just a couple of blocks from my hotel, so I walked along it’s enormous moat — with many brave people jogging in the heat — then headed into the business district for lunch.

Next on my list was the Nihombashi Bridge, which is the geographic center of the city.  Based on everything I had seen so far, I was expecting the bridge to be on the same scale.

2014-07-26 12.27.20But the ancient passageway is small and rather understated; I don’t know that I would have noticed it unless I was looking for it.

The expressway overhead plays a big part in that.  It casts a long shadow.

Even smaller but oh so colorful was the Kite Museum down the street, devoted to the Edo-dako style kite.

I entered here out of curiosity, but stayed a good long time (and not because it was air-conditioned).

2014-07-26 12.41.47The kites were really beautiful art pieces, displayed as kites, framed under glass, and covering the walls and ceilings.

 

2014-07-26 12.39.582014-07-26 12.39.30

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I moved to a hotel in the Roppingi district in the late afternoon and treated myself to an unexpected but thoroughly enjoyable four-hour nap!

I am refreshed and ready for tomorrow’s adventures in Tokyo.

 

 

More than a game

In Fever Pitch, the under-appreciated love letter to the Boston Red Sox, super fan Ben (Jimmy Fallon) tries to explain his single-minded devotion to the team to his workaholic girlfriend Sarah (Drew Barrymore):

fever pitch“Clearly, it’s not just a game! If it was, then obviously I wouldn’t care about it this much.

Twenty-three years.

Do you still care about anything you cared about years ago? How about–how about five? Name me a single thing that you’ve cared about for five years.”

That scene always spoke to me.  Even though Ben was talking baseball — a sport I personally never bonded with — I had that passion.  But mine was for…

KENTUCKY WILDCATS BASKETBALL

Harrison shotI’m a proud UK alum.  Years ago, I camped out for those hard-to-come-by tickets at Rupp Arena.

Now in New York City, I  watch very game that the networks allow, and have suffered every negative comment slung at the team this season by the media, haters and ‘fans’ alike.

And I never stopped believing.

The 2014 NCAA tourney has been an incredible, heart-stopping, unbelievable ride.  Kudos to our young team for putting their heads down, playing their hearts out and showing what they are made off when it mattered the most.

Now, let’s all enjoy our FINAL FOUR experience!!

 

 

Take me out to the golf course

I have often argued that, when it comes to televised sports, golf is way more exciting to watch than baseball.

And now I’ve got numbers to prove it.

golf playerbaseball player

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a Wall Street Journal stop watch experiment, an average three-hour baseball game contained roughly 18 minutes of actual action. They defined action as anything going on — any pitch, any fake pitch, even the meandering home run trots around the bases.

The rest of the time was split, on average, between down-town between pitches (1:14:49), time between batters (33:39) and time between innings (42:41).  And they clocked more than one game, guys.

(Then they probably fell asleep.)