My two favorite sports

Today is a very important day in this house. Today is the first home game of the Seattle Mariners’ season. Now I am faced with the dilemma of what is more important to me – baseball or talk radio? My solution at the moment is to have the game on at low volume while the radio plays. Unless the radio topic gets boring. Then the radio gets turned down and the game gets turned up. And if the game is bad? I’ll still watch it.

Baseball is one of my favorite sports. The other is auto racing. The two sports are completely different, except in one area – they both depend on accomplishment instead of a time limit.

Basketball, soccer, hockey, football – there is always a clock running to tell you how much time is left to play. Now, I like watching some of these other sports, but give me baseball any day. To finish a baseball game, you must get 27 outs. Complete at least 9 innings (8 and a half if you are the home team and are ahead). There are no time limits and no calling the game (unless weather intervenes, or in this area, earthquakes). Auto racing depends on the same principle. You must complete a certain number of laps around the track to finish the race. Weather can delay it or call it, but people get upset when the race is ended early. Ditto with baseball. We want to see complete games, not rain delays.

There is much strategy involved in sports, which I love. Especially in baseball. My dad once referred to it as a “thinking man’s game.” I must admit to being rather bored at games as a young girl (I took books to read at games, but cut me some slack – these were the Mariner games of the 80’s!), but now I pay attention to every pitch. That is, if I don’t have a wiggly Munchkin on my lap. This season, though, the Munchkin goes to play with grandparents, and I will enjoy every moment of the game that I don’t spend in the bathroom relieving myself from the pressure of Munchkin #2. He thinks my bladder is a trampoline. Or a pillow. You get the idea.

The M’s are one of the teams not tainted by scandal in the recent steroid mess. We don’t have mega-hitters like Bonds or Sosa. We have Ichiro. Sorry, even 262 hits last season won’t get him tested any more than the rest – most of them were singles and he doesn’t hit for power (though he can when he gets the right pitch) – he hits to get on base. One look at our lean and limber right-fielder will tell you he’s probably never even smelled a illicit drug. And anyone who accuses him of doing so would be laughed out of the park. Eat that, Canseco. Your days – and the days of the power sluggers – are over. Bring on “small ball” and slap hitters and bunts! The occasional home run should be just that. So, M’s fans, enjoy the season. Enjoy the players, most of whom are decent guys with good families and no scandals to follow them. Enjoy baseball, the national pastime. I know that I will be.

Update: The Mariners won 5-1 over the Minnesota Twins. Fabulous pitching by Jamie Moyer and Edgar Martinez threw out the first pitch (we miss you, Papi). I may have to re-think my stance on home runs, since Richie Sexson hit two of them today and got all the RBI’s. They are nice. I just don’t want to have to depend on them to win games everyday. And just a side note – I miss the Kingdome fireworks that came with the home runs.

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