My nerves are on edge. I’m watching too much ESPN. Whole minutes of my day are spent thinking about Kenny Rogers’ left elbow, keeping my fingers crossed that it heals well and fast. The signs are clear: my Detroit Tigers are in the middle of a pennant race.
I’ve been a baseball fan since I was seven years old. It’s a sport that suits my nerdy tendencies well. First off, there are miles and miles of statistics to obsess over. How’s Ordonez’s O.B.P. looking? (It’s looking very nice, thank you.) What about Justin Verlander’s W.H.I.P? Will Grilli ever get his E.R.A. down? There’s enough acronyms there to choke a H.O.R.S.E (Hoofed Oat-eating Running Sassy Equine).
Then there’s the athleticism of some of the players. I’m not knocking any of them. A lot of baseball players are stellar, stellar athletes in tip-top shape. Just watch a diving catch by centerfielder Curtis Granderson or one of third baseman Brandon Inge’s rib-crushing dives into the stands and you’ll see some guys in peak physical condition. On the other hand, baseball is one of the few sports where the guy eating pork rinds and smoking a cigarette on the sofa might actually be right when he says, “I could do that.” Sure, he couldn’t do it for very long, but he could probably catch a ball and maybe bunt or something. The same can’t be said for hockey or football or basketball. So as a nerdy person with limited physical skill and dexterity, I’ve always looked on baseball players as one of my own.
You’ve also got the length of the season – it lasts eight months if you include spring training. Imagine if Battlestar Galactica actually ran for eight straight months and then ended with a super-huge seven-episode World Series of sci-fi bliss. How awesome would that be? Pretty awesome. And that’s what you get with baseball. You get plenty of time to obsess on all the intricate details of the game. You speculate and talk with other fans. You can’t wait for each new series and you can’t help but grow more and more attached to your favorite players as you follow their ups and downs. It’s just like following a favorite TV show except when you wear a baseball jersey no one makes fun of you and accuses you of living in your parents’ basement.
So there it is: the reason my blood pressure’s getting higher and my nerves are starting to fray. My Tigers are in the pennant race and the nerd in me won’t be satisfied ‘til they win it all.