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  • Baseball moves at a conversational pace. It's a very social game. There's a lot of talking on the field of play - lots of chatter happening, all the time.

    Catchers and first basemen, especially, get lots of opportunities to chat up the other team. The catcher is right there, crouching down behind every batter. A smart catcher will use this opportunity to try to distract the batter's focus; get him to think about something other than trying to get a hit. Likewise, once a batter gets on base, the first baseman is right there to continue the conversation that the catcher started. Most first basemen are very gregarious.

    The catcher and pitcher have lots of conversations on the pitcher's mound. The players in the dugout are always yelling encouragement to the batter or to the guys on the field. The fielders are always yelling encouragement to the pitcher, or discouragement to the batter. The left fielder might inquire of the center fielder where he plans to eat after the game.

    With all these conversations going on throughout the game, when is there any time to actually play the game? Good question! There's actually about 300 such opportunities in your typical major league baseball game, the average number of pitches thrown in a game. Every time the pitcher winds up and hurls that little white sphere, anywhere from 70 to 100 MPH, in towards the batter, the conversations stop as everyone gets ready for the play that might result. More often than not, the batter either takes the pitch for a called ball or strike, swings and misses it, or hits a foul ball out of play. Then, all conversations resume until the next pitch - and so it goes.
  • But, when the ball is hit into play, the action is on! You have to pay close attention, though, because before you know it, the batter is either thrown out, or the fielder catches the hit ball, or the batter makes it safely to a base, and is on his way in his journey back home.

    He'll have to safely navigate his way all the way around all 4 bases, with 9 guys in the field doing everything in their power to stop him from getting there, though. And, yet - despite all this drama and competition happening during the play itself, in between each play, the conversations continue. That same batter might even get the chance to talk to the first baseman, the second baseman, the shortstop, and the third baseman, on his journey around the bases, if he goes one base at a time.

    Even though it is considered the great American pastime, and was invented in America, the game is so English, what with all of those conversations!

    As a fan, there’s plenty of time to talk about all kinds of things while watching the game. There’s way more time between pitches, than there is time of actual play going on. The pace is not for everyone.
  • Those whose preferred sport is hockey, soccer, or basketball, are used to more non-stop action. In hockey, it is considered extremely rude to get up out of your seat, and start walking towards the concession stand or rest room while play is going on. That’s called “hockey etiquette”, if you can believe it. You are supposed to wait until there is a stoppage in play. Violate that etiquette, and you’re going to hear about it from other fans! At a baseball game, people are constantly coming and going. There’s a “stoppage in play” after every pitch, after all. People get impatient, waiting for something to happen. They don’t understand all the nuances of what is happening out there on the field, all the little conversations going on, all the strategy slowly playing out. They need to get up and do something, because in their mind, nothing is happening out there on the field.

    But then, out of nowhere, comes an amazing play, something completely unexpected, maybe a play that people will be talking about for years to come. It can happen, just like that! So, the wise baseball fan pays attention to what’s going on, doesn’t get distracted by all the people coming and going, by all the little conversations going on all over the place, and stays focused on the game itself. The best way to do this is to keep score of the game. I always begin every game I go to with a scorecard in my lap, pen or pencil in hand, I faithfully write down the lineups for each team, and for at least the first three or four innings, I keep score of every play that happens.

    When I was younger, I did this for the whole game. Nowadays, I too am too easily distracted by everything going on to make it much past the fourth inning keeping the score. I have to get up and go. In my case, I like to check out the action all around the ballpark, There’s so many different conversations going on, I like to kibbitz on as many as I can. I like to see the game from a lot of different angles and views. My feet just gotta move. I’ll usually abandon my scoring at this point. I have a lot of half or third finished scorecards laying around. They still remind me of the game, and I'll remember most of it just by looking at that unfinished scorecard - they're kind of like journals in that way.

    While some find the game boring and incredibly slow moving, for me, there’s never a dull moment at a baseball game. There’s so much action going on, it’s nearly impossible to keep up with it all. It’s just not always necessarily happening during the plays - much of it is what goes on between the plays. You just have to pay attention to it all.

    Most people these days don't have the patience for all of that. For me, a baseball game is almost like a meditation. It takes me somewhere else that nothing else does, and all I have to do is sit there and let it take me there.
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