Monday, October 19, 2009

The Pitcher's Game

My cousin who was visiting last week told me that she has never understood the appeal of watching a professional baseball game. We figured out that her difficulty in appreciating the game may come from her belief that if the batter does not hit the ball, the batter must be doing something wrong. This view could reflect an underlying, somewhat optimistic philosophy, that one should be able to make something out of whatever life throws at you, and that if you can't do that, you have failed. I had to explain to her that in baseball at least, if not in life, every one of those hitters is extremely capable, but that it is still almost a miracle if they can get a hit. That is because the batter doesn't really have enough time to judge a pitch after it is thrown. He has to intuit where the ball is going before it is thrown. And if the pitcher is throwing well, and out-thinking the batters, even the best hitters in the league have almost no chance.

Last night's Dodger/Phillies game proved my point, as the Phillies' ace Cliff Lee shut down almost every one of the strong Dodger hitters, while awful pitching by a series of Dodgers' pitchers allowed the Phillies to score run after run seemingly without effort. It is interesting that this most American of games can be so grim and difficult. And without an ace pitcher, it is going to take hope and probably a lot of luck also to get the Dodgers into the World Series this year.

(LA Times photo)

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