Rowley: Let us like baseball

From SABR member Meg Rowley at FanGraphs on August 2, 2018:

On Sunday, I asked a few friends a question: what is your favorite sort of baseball play? One said a well-placed bunt for a hit on the third-base line. Another, preferring defensive highlights, elected for a smartly turned 6-4-3 double play with the shortstop going to his backhand, or else a home run robbed. One described the thrill of watching a pitcher who, after finding himself facing a bases-loaded, no-outs situation, manages to wiggle off the hook. Strikeouts swinging on a 100 mph fastball, and long balls that thump the batter’s eye, and outfield dances and coy smiles at a job well done, each answer was different, making up a tableau of the game’s joys.

For my part, I tend to be drawn to the interstitials between plate appearances, the little bits of tragedy or humor that bring alive the stats and those who make them, the funny faces that suggest a favorite passage from a book or that the pitcher has pooped himself. We can like so many different things, and baseball has room for all of them, the whimsy and rigor, the skill and struggle. It is your most compelling friend, your most interesting hang, a great, hard puzzle. It’s the best meal you’ve ever eaten, hearty and surprising. This is baseball’s greatest strength. It has so much to offer. But it also has some grumps.

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Originally published: August 2, 2018. Last Updated: August 2, 2018.