Skip to content

Op Ed Changeup

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. – Thoreau
Yeah, well, you know, that’s just like, uh, your opinion, man.Lebowski

Opinions, as Harry Callahan once noted, are like assh*les : Everybody has one. Along these same lines, the degree to which one shares his opinion is also a personal choice, and varies accordingly. Share it too much and you run the risk of becoming a boor; too little and you’re labeled a neurotic wreck. Alcohol is a potent opinion-liberator and having been on the receiving end of many a sloshed rant, I tend to shut up when I drink. But I do voice some opinions here, in this forum. Perhaps it’s my way of getting back at all the drunks I’ve had to endure – even if none ever reads what I write.

All of which leads me to baseball. One’s take on the game reveals more than that provided discussing any other sport. Talk basketball and you can determine if someone knows what a 2-3 defense is; football and you derive a certain intellect to testosterone ratio. Talk soccer and you quickly eliminate anyone beyond a first-generation American. Talk tennis, golf, or auto racing (outside of Wimbledon, The Masters, or the Indy 500) and you risk getting sucked into a particular conversational vacuum familiar only to a David Duke – Patti LaBelle first date. But talk baseball and you have an idea of where a person stands, even if things only get as far as an initial opinion. If somebody tells me that they’ve never followed the game, this is perfectly acceptable and the remark stands on its own. If somebody tells me it’s boring or “it moves too slowly,” this reveals an entirely new dimension. But if the person is a fan and cares to elaborate, the sky’s the limit.

As a fan of the National League, there’s a certain feeling I get attending the infrequent American League game and stepping in to Yankee Stadium or the Oakland Coliseum. I’m not sure why this is, as it’s largely the same deal outside of a few notable differences. But there’s something in the air that’s different in an American League ballpark. It isn’t entirely unlike the feeling one gets attending a WWF wrestling match, and thinking “I hope all these people realize that this is a put-on ..” Yankee fans will blether on about countless championships and A’s backers point to their club winning three more World Series between 1972 and 1974 than the San Francisco Giants have in their entire history. They will both be right, and I will simply respond with “the designated hitter” and know in my heart that there is something off about these people. For those claiming mere prejudice on my part I’d add only that as a Giants fan, I don’t get the same feeling walking in to Dodger Stadium. Sure it’s where the enemy resides, but at least the entire world hasn’t been turned on its ear down there.

My own interest in the game has ebbed and peaked at various points over the years and as I’ve noted, it was the San Francisco pitcher Tim Lincecum who renewed my current enthusiasm. On the surface this may seem an unremarkable point, but Lincecum also provided my incentive for following the Mets on this coast, purchasing a Major League Baseball application for my iPod to listen to Giants home broadcasts, and ordering cable for the first time in three years to watch ESPN. Along with this, he’s allowed for a newly-elevated level of potential conversation on the rare occasion that I wander out to a bar or social gathering. The Giants avoided an arbitration hearing earlier this year by signing Lincecum to a $23 million, two year contract – $8 million this year, $11 million in 2011, and a $2 million signing bonus. In my opinion, he’s worth every dime.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *