Friday, April 2, 2010

Baseball: America's Relationship-Friendly Pastime

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know I like to tease baseball and give it a hard time.  But for all its flaws (too long, too boring, too nerdy, too confusing to bet on, etc.), baseball will always have a place in my heart.  It was the first sport I fell in love with, and to be honest, it still has a lot going for it.

Like, if getting along with your girlfriend or wife is important to you, baseball's the best sport there is.

To understand why, we must become familiar with the terms watchability and missabilityWatchability is the degree to which we can enjoy watching a game.  Missability is the degree to which we're OK with missing it.  Usually they're inversely related: Games with high missability (preseason basketball, golf) tend to have low watchability, and games with high watchability (NFL Sundays, March Madness) tend to have low missability.

And low missability is the #1 cause of fights with your girlfriend.

That brings us to baseball.  Now, I'm not going to pretend baseball's an easy sport to sit through.  It isn't.  But when your favorite team's playing, it absolutely is.  For me, Mets' games are pleasant, enjoyable, and never require my full attention.  As long as the Mets are playing -- and with the exception of the occasional travel day, they are -- baseball is very watchable.

Yet, at the same time, it behooves me to remember that that baseball game I'm watching is merely one out of 162!  That's roughly the equivalent of just six minutes of an NFL football game!  Know how your coach used to tell you after a tough loss "It's OK, it was just one game"? Well, in baseball, they mean it.  A single baseball game -- as exciting as a walk-off home run (or as agonizing as a bullpen-blown lead) can be -- just isn't a very big deal.  And that's what makes it so missable.

No other sport is so highly watchable and missable at the same time.  I can and will always enjoy spending an evening alone with the Mets (until around early August when they're mathematically eliminated), yet I'll never feel too disappointed if I can't.

What could be more relationship-friendly than that?