Some people, ok many people, these days say baseball is boring. The problem is that it takes a long time and a lot of patience to learn the game. The payoff for that time and patience, however, is the ability to enjoy the game at it's fullest. If you've played the game, you have a leg up. And, of course, a rooting interest also pushes the level of excitement up a few notches. Throw in a potential clinching World Series game, a potential clinching at bat, a potential clinching pitch and for my money you are witness to the apex of viewing excitement.
What's going on inside your head when you're watching exciting baseball? One could say that thinking is a way for your mind to banter with itself. During exciting baseball moments, the banter becomes more frantic. Everything you know about baseball: games you've watched, games you've played, things you've read, mountains of statistics that have taken residence in your brain, it all plays into your constant inner dialogue. Using that historical base of facts and figures, your thoughts turn into a constant stream of observances, predictions, and desires. Depending on your state of mind, your optimism, pessimism, or realism you continually try to anticipate the ensuing events. In the heat of the moment, what comes through? Do you lean on your optimistic desires? your realistic observations, your pessimistic predictions? or as is probably the case for most, a mixture of everything?
I decided to take a look back on the last pitch of the year. Live, I watched from my couch, alone with my thoughts (kids in bed, wife doesn't care). The following is a re-creation of my thoughts during maybe 10 seconds of the live broadcast. Obviously, I couldn't remember everything that went through my mind, but I was surprised that many of the same thoughts I had the first time came back on revisiting the video (I still have the game on my DVR).
We join my brain in progress just after Mariano Rivera has thrown ball 3 to Shane Victorino, running the count full.
-damn, victorino is giving him a tough at bat-
Buck "Good at bat by Victorino"
-that's my thought-
-what was that study i saw on guys that foul off a lot of pitches in an at bat? i think it was inconclusive-
-if victorino gets on, back to back homers from utley and howard and it's still tied-
-just get him here and finish it-
-he keeps going inside, try the outside? but he's been missing outside-
-get him here, don't walk him-
Shot of Ruiz on second
-don't care about the guy on second-
-no more fouls, i can't take the pressure-
-man, is mo really as calm as he looks?-
Mo Comes set
-posada set up outside, don't get too much of the plate-
-looks like a strike-
-crap, he hit it-
View of grounder skipping across the infield.
-don't find the hole-
Buck "To the second baseman, Cano...."
-yes, don't boot it please-
Cano picks it up.
-yes, good throw please-
-yes, catch it please-
Teix catches it
Buck ".. The Yankees are back on top."
Teix streaking across the diamond.
-time for the pileup-
-who's in there?-
-damon trying to jump in-
-posada on the outside looking in, ha, doesn't want to get hurt-
-here comes melky-
-cool, they did it-
-how long until pitchers and catchers?-
Yes, as exciting as it gets, once it sinks in that it's over, I realize I am merely a viewer. I was a lucky bystander, but a bystander nevertheless. The excitement is gone. The long and un-exciting off season is upon us.