Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Baseball Season.

The baseball season is one week old and unusually for me I've haven't quite got into it yet. This is partially to do due with the worries I have concerning my degree and partially to do with me being too tired to stay up late watching games on the Internet.

However, with the Mets home opener yesterday I'm starting to get excited.

Unfortunataely, my allegiance in baseball is split between the White Sox and Mets. I attended my first Major League game at old Commiskey Park in 1978 and have ever since been a Sox (not Chisox, Pale Hose or any other name, just: Sox) fan. In the later years, however, I've been following the Mets more closely, for three specific reasons:

1) The Designated Hitter. I'm growing tired waiting for the American League to abandon this bad experiment. While I dislike the DH for the usual reasons, i.e. being contrary to baseball's traditions, integrity and its effect on run scoring and strategy, my main objection to the rule is that I actually like to see pitchers bat. I love the David and Goliath confrontation and I really enjoy it when a pitcher gets a hit or draws a walk. Watching major league pitchers, who (usually) are great athletes, struggling at the plate also reminds me of how difficult batting really is.

2) Time Zones. Games that start at 7 PM in New York, start at midnight Greenwich time, whereas 7 PM Chicago games start at 1 AM Greenwich time. Following the Mets therefore gets me to bed earlier.

3) Roger Angel. Author of some the best books on baseball. His essays covering the old New York Giants and New York Mets, hightened my interest in the Mets.


At 13 April, 2007 03:47, Blogger Marcel said...

Your reasons for liking the Metropolitans are pretty valid. Yet, you could've chosen any National League team to campaign against the DH rule....say, the Dodgers? I digress. The Mets have a lot of history, from the early days when a young no-name fire-baller Nolan Ryan broke into the scene to the championship team of 1985 (thank you, Bill Buckner), it's a storied franchise with highs and lows, but a rich tradition.

If you visit me in the summer, I'll be sure to take you to Chavez Ravine....where the most beautiful baseball stadium resides. :)

At 13 April, 2007 20:21, Blogger Torsten Pedersen said...

I would really like to go to Dodger Stadium.

I remember so vividly watching the Yankees and Dodgers in the World Series. The Dodgers were this exotic team from the other league (as a child I only followed the American League. The AL had all the teams that a child growing up in Michigan thought of as important: the Tigers, White Sox and Yankees).

After my parents moved back to Denmark I didn't follow baseball for some years, until satellite TV started broadcasting baseball in Europe. The first World Series I watched for 9 years, was the Dodgers and Athletics in 88. It bothers me the Dodgers haven't been to the Series since.

Have you always live in southern California and have the Dodgers always been your team? Have you ever read Angels 'The Summer Game"?

At 14 April, 2007 11:22, Blogger Hugo said...

I agree with your three points. Of course, I'm a die-hard Mets fan, who is perpetually immersed in that rich historical fusion of Brooklyn Dodgers blue and NY Giants orange. Just the other day I was about in tears staring at old photographs of Ebbets Field... even wondering what Shea Stadium represents to me, seeing as it too will soon be demolished.

Mets fans share a unique and distinct mentality. Our history might lend itself to a Philly or Red Sox fan-like pessimism, but the Miracle Mets ('69) and McGraw's"Ya Gotta Believe" Mets ('73) keep us suspended in an eternal optimism. Through Casey Stengal's "lovable losers" definition, we even find reason to redeem the worst chapters of our history by our fanatical loyalty. And the '86 Mets embody the still-elusive possibilities of dynasty.

With regard to the Dodgers..... Although LA might lay claim to the old Dodgers tradition, I often wonder if the Mets (who inherited most of the old Brooklyn fans) best embody the very spirit of the Brooklyn team. "Dem Bums" only won one world series in all their years in Brooklyn, but were fanatically loved by their fans, who breathed a crosstown underdog spirit in a low-income, baseball town. Somehow, the character of the LA team (5 championships, market predominance in the city, higher-income fan base, and forced rivalry against the Angels, while playing in a basketball town) seems so different from their Sullivan Ave ancestors. Who knows?

This is part of the difficulty when comparing the Dodgers and Mets traditions; at some point, they converge in claiming the same historical legacy.

At 17 April, 2007 14:52, Blogger Torsten Pedersen said...

Hi hugo,

Yes, the Mets, at least in the early part of their history, were the spirital 'heirs' to the Brooklyn Dodgers.

I've always thought franchises that relocate should completely change their names (actually I don't think franchises should relocate at all). For me the Braves, Browns, Giants, Dodgers, Athletics, Senators, Pilots (!) and Expos are no more, and the new teams should not be considered as continuations of these former franchises.

The LA Dodgers have a unique history of their own. Southern California is one of best places for Baseball and the LA Dodgers embody the passion for the game that exists there.

That dosen't, however, make me not wish the Dodgers and Giants had never left New York (A city I became acquinted with when I was stationed in northern New Jersey while serving in the Navy).


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