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Of Pitchers and Catchers or: My First Baseball Game

From CinciPulse - The Pulse of the City

When it comes to American sports such as baseball or football, I am a real German. Meaning: I have no clue.


I can name the exact minute when the German soccer team scored the winning goal against Argentina in the World Cup of 2006, but I have only a very rough idea of what the “Super Bowl” is, and I just heard the name Reggie Jackson for the first time this week. I had never watched a baseball or football game, either at the stadium nor on TV.  And, while people might forgive you once or twice for not knowing what a touchdown is, I feel that if you want to understand American culture, or simply don't want to be the only one who didn't get the sports joke (again),  at some point you just HAVE to get into US sports. For me, the time came this week.


My sport of choice: baseball. My team to root for: the Cincinnati Reds (against the New York Mets). My game plan: try not to look like a total baseball newbie. Well, I can tell you that this strategy failed right about the time we had gotten to the ballpark and I wanted to run to our seats right away (I wanted to get there fast so I wouldn't miss one second of the game). This haste comes clearly from growing up on soccer games in Germany: A soccer game lasts just 90 minutes, and if you miss the first two seconds, there is a chance you might miss the goal of the century. Not so with baseball.


People take their time coming in, walking around, getting drinks and food, and finally finding their seats. Nobody starts to care too much about what is going on on the field before the 6th or 7th inning (except when someone hits the ball really far). These 6 innings gave me plenty of time to get the obligatory baseball hot dog (just like in the movies, yeah!) and annoy the heck out of my friends by asking about pretty much anything and everything that was going on during the game. “Why can only one team score? What is a strike? What does it mean to steal a base?” And my most frequently asked question— “Hey, what just happened???”


Even though these question might seem ridiculous to every American, I am extremely proud that I learned what an inning is and that you call “the guy with the stick” the batter. I also learned that baseball is a highly strategic game and even if I don't appreciate the fact that some pitchers take about 20 minutes to throw a ball, I can at least grasp, on a very basic level, some of the strategy behind it.


Yes, I admit it; before going to see the game, I had a hard time understanding how people could sit through so many innings of what is probably the slowest sport on earth and not get bored. However, I don't think there was one moment throughout the entire game where I felt bored. Maybe this was because it was my first baseball game ever and everything was new and exciting, or maybe, I actually like baseball. (Either way, I had a ball ).




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