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... another day closer to eternity

Monday, October 11, 2004

An affair with....

I am a football(soccer) loving Englishman from Whitstable, Kent. I have recently dipped my toe in U.S. sport and have to confess I am having an affair with...NFL, MLB ETC. American sport is gripping my thing that can be gripped.

Baseball, oh baseball. What a genius game.
Baseball, what a great game. Americans are aware of this but I don't think they know that in Britain, baseball is seen as a girls school game called rounders. If you are like me then we have sad memories of rounders. Rain sodden plimsoles, chewed up wooden bats thrown behind into drenched queues of bored 12 year olds, 'rounder,rounder,rounder' chants as you scoot around the diamond.

Forget all that. Baseball is a dream. I brought a Playstation 2 game, All Star Baseball and couldn't hit the ball. I was swinging away at every pitch and missing. It was then I realised that baseball is far more sophisticated than that. Just like cricket, the bowler(pitcher) is sending the ball wayward to try and get you to swing wildly at the ball. I know I am preaching to the converted in America but believe me, in Europe this is big news. It is a mind game of good pitches versus bad pitches versus teasing pitches. The batsman is playing a patient game, he has a split second to make up his mind whether he trys to hit it or let it fly outside the 'strike zone'. Anyway the upshot of all this is that I have discovered the greatness of baseball.

NFL football is an amazing spectacle of tactics over brute strength. The teams in the NFL are fairly well matched due to the Draft system and salary caps. There are no promotion or relegation and so you don't end up with the madness of Crystal Palace in the top flight of entertainment.

I am fast losing faith in English soccer.
It starts with Barnsley in the Premier League then Derby, now Fulham, Crystal Palace, Portsmouth, Norwich, West Brom even Middlesborough is pushing it for me. My beloved West Ham are slogging it out with Rotherham whilst Andy Gray is drooling over the prospect of a wonderful future Sky game of Norwich v Portsmouth!!
I am seriously considering dropping my Sky Sports subscription and signing up for NASN the American sports network in England. Haven't done it yet due to the fact that it's hard to watch one 90 minute game when you are in a relationship. Baseball has a 162 game season!!! No chance for us pussy-whipped men.


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