How I Learned to Love Baseball
It was a combination of things: a boy, a book, and determination
Why so long?
I love baseball. Now. It just took a long time for me to learn to love it.
For most of my life I lived vicariously through the love of baseball first with my father and then with my husband and son. But why didn’t I feel a strong connection to it? I played softball for two years in middle school, and for a long time I defined baseball as a “game I’d rather play than watch”.
Overall I felt bored. There were games where I convinced my family to leave early due to being too cold or tired. I felt the same way I did in church when I was a teenager - by the time it was the top of the 5th inning I felt like time stood still. There was no forward or backward, only the scoreboard and the sound of the crowd.
I associated baseball with the droning on the AM radio after my Dad cut the grass and had a beer.
It turns out that I just needed to heighten my awareness and concentrate more. I did this by getting a scorebook.
Enter the Scorebook
I came across the work of designer Bethany Heck last summer while looking up some web font reviews. Through her website I found out about her kickstarter and success with Eephus League scorebooks. I didn’t get a scorebook right away. I thought they looked beautiful and well-designed but didn’t think I would use one.
Then over the past year I’ve really, truly observed a love of baseball in my son. He is in the phase of life where everything is possible, and what’s very possible for him right now is someday playing baseball professionally. He’ll watch games and know all the statistics about batting averages off the top of his head. He memorized what players are on what teams and who got traded where. He wants to play catch every day.
One day a couple weeks before my birthday I told the family I wanted a specific gift. “It’s baseball related”. My husband’s jaw dropped, and I’ve been with him long enough to know that if his jaw drops there’s something truly surprising going on.
I took the book to a Mariners vs A’s game. Everything was different. I detailed plays about the baseball game and players and paid attention to every throw. The time went by fast. It was exciting. It was perfectly paced - I could have a little conversation with a friend and the same player would still be at bat. It was in turns meditative, peaceful and exciting.
Then I took the scorebook to a Saturday little league game. The joy! my son had on his face when I took the scorebook with me and told him I’d watch and keep score! Yes, I did get distracted with a funny conversation with another mom. I don’t understand all the nuances and I’m still in the process of understanding all the rules that my 8-year-old already has committed to memory. I don’t quite comprehend the infield pop-fly rule or balks or a few other rules I previously didn’t even know existed.
But I will be going to more games. I look forward to it.