One of the most common things seen on twitter this post-season is many of the chattering class — myself included — poking fun at The Narrative – the pre-determined storylines which often dominate games in real time.
Without putting words in the mouth of anyone else, I know this infuriates me because it often glosses over what is actually happening on the field. The carefully researched storylines trump the real swings in the game and the real reason for watching in the first place: the game.
Baseball is a game told in long-form story. The long season meant to separate wheat from chaff before a helter skelter post-season rewards drama and chance. The hows and whys are important, both in a 162 game grind and afterwards.
It is the window dressing I can do without. Focussing on Alex Rodriguez’s post-season struggles while glossing over less-convenient stories like “proven playoff performers” falling just as flat. Spilling gallons of virtual ink on the Toronto origins and sober bromance of Roy Halladay and Chris Carpenter instead of an incredible matchup of two of the game’s best pitchers. The promise of an incredibly taut and well-pitched game (sorely lacking from this post-season) interests me more than standard definition clips of skinny hurlers on painted green concrete.
Let the game tell the story. Let what matters overtake what seemed likely when it comes time to describe the action. The games are exciting, by and large. The stories feel well-worn and overwrought. The pre-determined stories too often live larger than the actions on the field. A-Rod’s failings are due to A-Rod’s inability to do whatever it is he was supposed to do in that moment, not the quality of the pitches thrown his way.
Take it all in. There are two teams in every game and a million individual interactions which contribute to the fabric of the game, series, season and career. Using our new-found statistical enlightenment shines bright lights into the previously-misunderstood forces at play in the game. With these wide-open eyes we can make up our own minds and celebrate that which we appreciate that most – those that
The tide is turning but it takes time. The more strident voices of the snarky online classes are the growing pains of an industry and business that has made great strides in a very short period of time. Don’t let the widening gulf between what you value and what is presented for your enjoyment detract from the true entertainment this week – exciting playoff baseball between great teams. Watch in beautiful HD and share inside jokes with people you’re yet to meet on Twitter. It is a beautiful time to be a baseball fan.
Enjoy it for what is still is – the best [GETTING BLANKED} game around played at its peak.