Saturday, March 10, 2007

Weekend Conversation: Watching Spring Training Baseball on TV

We're going to try something new this weekend here at SoSG: Weekend Conversation. We'll try and post an open topic to solicit comments and conversations for the weekend.

This week's topic: watching spring training baseball on television.

Work took me to Europe this week, and usually when I'm in Europe on business, I accept the fact that I'm basically removed from the US sports I love. Aside from the occasional blackberry story or score, it's hard to find good news on baseball in the Guardian or the International Herald Tribune. I end up watching CNN and SkyNews until I start recognizing all the content looping, and then I'll leave a soccer game on in the background, or resign myself to news about upcoming cricket and rugby matches.

Imagine my surprise this time to find the North American Sports Network, which has just launched in France. And Friday morning as I was packing for my flight, I found a spring training game between the Yankees and Tigers (which played on Monday, with the Yankees winning 6-5 in the bottom of the ninth).

Now, I don't like the Yankees much. I wouldn't recognize most of the Tigers except for their 2006 postseason appearance. And it's spring training, for pete's sake--a meaningless outcome, no game rhythm due to pitchers shuttling in and out every inning or so, and crowd shots of people who aren't paying attention (and they're AT the game). On top of all that, I knew the game had been played days earlier and the outcome had already been determined.

And yet, I sat there and watched four innings of this game. There was something so compelling about watching baseball again that it didn't matter what teams were playing or how old the broadcast was. For me, it was still captivating. And I have to say, it was pretty nice to watch the game.

I have listened to Dodger games this spring on the radio, and have caught Dodger highlights on television. But would you watch a televised broadcast of a spring training game with two teams you don't even follow? Was it just a case of baseball withdrawal, or is baseball always this interesting, even when it's not supposed to be?


Alex Cora said...

For me, I enjoy the sounds of the game. Just having random games on in the background while I work seems to be calming. However, it is much harder to work when watching the dodger game becuase you are on the edge of your seat with every pitch and at bat!

Orel said...

I was going to say deprivation, but there's something soothing about the rhythm and sounds of any baseball game. During Dodger game commercial breaks (radio or TV), I'll hunt for another game (this is how I keep up with the Angels).

And thanks to WGN and TBS, there's a chance that the Cubs, White Sox or Braves will be on TV when the Dodgers aren't.

Delino DeShields, Sr said...

I'm still in bracket mode (aka my next fifty dollar gambling write-off). My subscription to means I already could be watching one of THREE daily random spring training games. This Spring, I've already seen lots of players' faces I won't have to commit to memory.