I’ve been watching the Atlanta Braves and the Houston Astros swing it out in the World Series and noticed an element of baseball game play that I’d never before contemplated. Compared to other team sports, the rhythm and suspense of baseball game play in relation to scoring is that no matter which team you root for, you can be more hopeful that your team can keep the lead or shrink the score gap. There are nine innings after all. Ninety-five minutes into a baseball game and you’re not even at the fifth inning yet. There’s a more fluid stop-and-go of “plays” that lessens the sense of fiendish urgency to score points (in contrast to football, which consists of a much more blatant stop-and-go of plays and feeds into the o-m-g-we-are-losing energy).
Moreover, unlike the rapidly changing points in basketball, baseball’s scoring fluctuates in moderation (nevermind that the Astros took quite the lead against the Braves in Game 5 of the World Series and in a short period of time). Though the game play is slower than that of futbol and hockey, the players have an easier time hitting balls, running bases, and making homeruns. In other words, watch a baseball game for forty-five minutes and both teams would likely have at least one or two runs. Watch a futbol or hockey game for the same amount of time and you’re lucky if one team made one point.
It’s easier to passively watch baseball too. One can mute the game and knit a pair of gloves without feeling as though one is missing anything that cannot be seen on the screen. Although I have muted Falcons’ games in the past (and other football games), there’s inevitably a part of me that wonders if something illuminating is being imparted by the commentators in relation to a play or a penalty. Speaking of the Atlanta Falcons, they did not beat the Carolina Panthers on Halloween. They lost 19 to 13, aka, three field goals or one touch down. After skimming the scoring summary, it turns out that the Falcons missed a field goal in the bottom of the third quarter. Even if they’d made that field goal, they would still be down by three points going into the end of the fourth quarter. So, unless someone pulled a TD out of their elbow before the two-minute warning, they wouldn’t have won anyway.
Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.
Pic cred: Lesly Juarez, unsplash