Hello, hope you’re all well. This Blog is going to be a little bit different. I don’t know much about baseball yet. I mean I know what a homerun is and know how to get someone out. I know that you don’t have to smash the ball out of the park every chance you get to score and that not every pitcher will throw the ball at lightning speed but as for positions and certain terms,nope that stuff still sails right over my head. But this blog is going to be me detailing a season learning this amazing game and hopefully by the end of it I would be able to hold my own in a conversation with any of you fine readers.
So baseball wouldn’t be the most popular sport in Ireland, North or South. It’s not played in every street corner and it’s not played in schools. You don’t hear many people arguing or debating about it in pubs or workplaces. Not many new parents name their kids Mike or Derek after some pretty good players. In fact in my small but perfect friendship group there is only one other friend who will even entertain baseball with me. I love this. I love that none of my mates are into it, I love that no one in work watches it and although I don’t drink so don’t frequent a pub that often I love that if I did I wouldn’t hear about The Phillies abysmal season or the fact the Dodgers have won every game and Mookie Betts is having the greatest season of all time. Baseball to me, here in a little town in County Armagh, is my thing.
Now as I have mentioned I don’t know a lot about baseball, it is relatively new to me but the kind folks at Bat Flips and Nerds have let me write a blog where I get to tell you what it’s like for a novice trying to follow a baseball season from Northern Ireland. So if you are looking for a tactical breakdown and intelligent opinions on how a game has unfolded then this is not the spot. BUT if you want to read my ramblings where I will get a lot wrong to start off with and probably use the wrong analogies then this is your spot. I will do my utmost to make you all laugh at my expense.
I should probably clarify that I am not a complete newbie. I’ve been to a few baseball games when I spent fourteen weeks in Atlanta. This was in the summer of 2008 when they were at the old Olympic stadium. I enjoyed the games, they were fun but I didn’t really have a clue what was going on apart from the odd booming strike from a batter and a home run. I wouldn’t say I caught the bug then, that would be a lie, but a tiny seed was planted.
There is something about baseball. I’m sure you all have your own feelings towards it and reasons why you fell in love with it. I wouldn’t say I am completely in love with it just yet but I’m heading there like a steam engine. I find it soothing. That’s maybe a bit weird for you all but there is something about it that relaxes me. Maybe it’s the fact that the team I follow hasn’t made the World series in my 18 months of fandom- The Phillies. We will chat about them at a later date. Or maybe it’s not knowing exactly what’s going on and what all the abbreviations like RBI and WAR mean.
The London series last year helped stoke the fires. I didn’t get to come over for them but I followed it on BT and the plan is to be over for this years’ MLB series. Getting to watch games on BT is a massive bonus, I think this was similar for people in the early noughties who were able to watch basketball on SKY.
The blog will see me give my spin on watching a game or certain stories that break out during the season. If the season gets as wild as the off season has been then we could all be in for a treat. I’m not going to weigh in on the Astros debacle, we are all at a point now where it is starting to feel nauseating. What I will say is they are fantastic villains, almost like supervillains really, like something marvel would conjure up. So brash with a “We don’t care what you think” attitude. The perfect bad guys. Good luck to them this season facing pitches as it seems the whole league is out to use them as target practice.
There have been reports this week that some of the Astros players have been receiving death threats via social media, some of these even aimed at their wives and children. Nice to see society completely losing the run of itself isn’t it? Yes they cheated, yes they don’t seem to be showing any remorse, yes they are the villains but come on. Death threats to them and their families? Get that type of behaviour into the nearest skip. Sport needs villains, it makes the drama better. Can you imagine a World Series in October with the Astros in it? One fan base against the rest of the world? That would be something.
Hope you enjoyed my first ramblings on baseball, let me know what you think and if any of you have any baseball book recommendations then please forward them my way.
Phil Mccullough is new to writing on Bat Flips and Nerds. Follow him on Twitter @phili_mcc88