This is a dark time of year for baseball, my friends, when the World Series is afar and we can legitimately say that spring training starts “next month,” but this cheat on relying on the pitchers and catchers report date simply means that we are comforting ourselves with the fact that somewhere out in the general area of sand, Tucker Barnhart and Sal Romano are playing catch. Which is an improvement over the no-baseball prison in which you and I are currently trapped.

The major problem, of course, is what we’re supposed to watch on television right now if the Reds aren’t appearing there. I myself possess many, many bookcases of many, many books, all of which are angry at me because they feel neglected. Reading is lifeblood for me and I currently have three books in various stages of reading-ness, but I’m not going to drag out Leaves of Grass for three minutes while I cram a breakfast sandwich into me on my way to being late to whatever I’m being late to. Leaves of Grass requires sitting in a quiet room with no melted cheese product to distract me from figuring out just why Walt Whitman felt the need to write an eleven-page poem about an axe. (I worry about these things so you non-English majors don’t have to. You’re welcome!)

The Crown: Really anything out of Britain is going to be entertaining. A UK show means that there’s always a chance an American character might show up, and that usually means a Brit actor is going to attempt, badly, talking like us. This most often results in the person sounding like he just fell off a turnip truck out of 1886 Georgia. Once I saw a BBC docudrama about the early space program, and they made Alan Shepard, who was from New Hampshire, speak like Foghorn Leghorn. I’m pretty sure that British people are under the impression that “y’all” is peppered throughout the Constitution.

Any Shopping Channel: Our very basic TV package consists of 95% shopping channels. I like to stop in every now and then merely to marvel at the fact that they still exist. Online shopping means never having to hear another human being say the words “Look. At this. Cubic zirconium.”

Basketball: I just put that to be polite. Basketball is horrid. It’s ten dudes running back and forth between two baskets to shove each other around. There’s too much squeaking. Bottom line, if you want me to take basketball seriously, call traveling once in a while.

Vintage Game Shows: I am often bothered by television shows purporting to take place in the late 80’s and popping their characters on screen as though they just walked out of Carter’s inauguration. We wore Esprit and little shorts and neon in the 80’s; there are people still alive who experienced this and everything. Scripted television often gets it wrong, even in its own era. I remember, as a child, watching The Cosby Show and becoming very upset with Denise Huxtable’s fashion choices.  I didn’t dress like that. Even the weird people I knew didn’t dress like that. Where was her floral, her overalls, her Reeboks? This wasn’t reality at all!

Game shows, however, consisted of real people wearing their own clothes, and there is no hiding from the giant tie knots and the tube socks. That happened. I recommend Press Your Luck, which was amazing, and Tic-Tac-Dough, which was also fairly great but also featured a scary dragon which came out of nowhere and roared and you might have to run away and hide in your parents’ bedroom holding your ears during the part of the game it might show up.

I’m just warning you.

Proud aunt Mary Beth Ellis is a freelance writer and college teacher who lives in Cincinnati, OH. Her home site, BlondeChampagne.com, has existed in at least some form since 2003, and Mary Beth has been a regular columnist with one publication or another from the age of 16. Her first book, Drink to the Lasses, was published in 2006. She currently teaches college, runs personal wine tastings, gives literary readings, and stares into the middle distance.

Join the conversation! 28 Comments

  1. Regarding the basketball comment, you can disparage any sport by boiling it down to its simplest terms. For example, you could say that baseball is a bunch of guys in pajamas banging a little ball around with a stick. 🙂

    Basketball certainly doesn’t have the same strategy level as baseball and American football, but it’s a game of action and a nice wintertime (indoor) diversion. I personally prefer the college game, which is more of a team game, over the NBA, which is more of a one-on-one game that favors flash over everything else.

    • I’m with you on this one… one of the underrated things I also appreciate about basketball is that a college game usually stays in a tidy 2 hour window. I know what I’m signing up for and they almost always deliver. And I appreciate that in an age where some college football games lagged on to 3.5, 4 hours long.

    • Not sure you’re right about the strategy. Football makes a huge production out of its complexity, but that doesn’t mean basketball lacks it.

  2. Nope.
    Too much squeaking.
    Call traveling.
    The buzzer is too loud.
    Basics.

  3. haha this article really made me laugh. I had a girlfriend in college that hated basketball for the same reason. “the horrid squeaks”!

    needless to say basketball ended that relationship!

    • Josh The Pilot was a cheerleader in college and spend hour upon hour upon hour at basketball games.
      Hates it.

  4. The first two I can get behind, Reading is always good. I do thank you for worrying about Walt Whitman though, we non English majors everywhere thank you. Anything British is usually good. I am going nowhere near any shopping Channel however, that s what Amazon is for, quick easy and on your doorstep in a couple of days. Game shows, I just don’t get the appeal. And I love basketball. understand I am in ACC country where they know how to play. My wife however agrees about the squeaking.

    • Maybe women are just more sensitive to high-pitched sounds, given that we shriek around each other so much.

  5. Every season of Frasier is available on Amazon Prime for free. With something like 13 seasons, you could conceivably marathon the whole series start to end in the space between seasons. Food for thought.

    • A solid reminder. I burned through that background a company quite awhile ago, however. Right now I’m doing “That 70s Show,” which is terrible, but at least occasionally contains Jim Gaffigan.

      • Last I checked, Hulu has Season 1 of WKRP still.

        During the opening sequence, I can point out my Dad in the oncoming traffic (it’s a cream-colored Pontiac Grand LeMans) right when the radio announcer says, “But the Senator, while insisting he wasn’t intoxicated, could not explain his nudity!”

        I always liked how Andy Travis wore a lot of Reds stuff. And the Sparky Anderson episode.

  6. My Netflix and Amazon Prime accounts get so much more use in the winter when there is no baseball on. Have to find something else to watch instead! I disagree with you about basketball though. Basketball was actually my first sports love. I played competitively from 6th to 12th grade. The squeaking has never bothered me, weirdly enough.

  7. The Crown and Poldark … and Cheers is on Netflix, so that’s my lunchtime binge. I burned through the only season of “Brojects” in no time. Plus I’m on the wait list for a couple good books due out in a month.

    I do bleed Syracuse Orange this time of year, but given the difficulty in the middle of the ACC pack, I doubt it will make much difference.

    The smell of Spring Training … when hope springs eternal and all the potential in the world is there for the asking.

    • We are trying to parcel out “The Crown so it lasts.” Poldark is AMAZING and the extremely rare specimen of being almost as good as the books. Tremendously well done.

  8. One of the obscure sports channels thrown in by my cable company to pad their channel count seems to be all cricket all the time. I’m actually starting to understand what’s going on a big part of the time. At times it does seem a lot like baseball played with just 2 bases.

    • With tea.
      Don’t forget the tea.

    • Ah, yes. I spent some time in India several years ago. One of my co-workers there tried to explain cricket to me, while I tried to explain baseball to him.

      It didn’t take.

      • The last week they’ve featured a lot of coverage of the under 19 Cricket World Cup. Some of those young bowlers looked as much like pitchers as bowlers. They took very short run ups of just 2 or 3 steps and something in their release looked more like pitching than bowling.

  9. What is Chad saying about Greene elbow???

  10. You made some good points and basketball is a JOKE. The rim should be raised to 12 feet. I don’t mind seeing the fouls but geez, please call traveling. Did the rules change? No, just lousy refs. Instant replay would correct the bad calls like it has for baseball.

    I am excited for baseball. I know we probably won’t be much better than last but I still love the reds. It’s going to be tough since Milwaukee made some big improvements.

Comments are closed.

About Mary Beth Ellis

Proud aunt Mary Beth Ellis is a freelance writer and college teacher who lives in Cincinnati, OH. Her home site, BlondeChampagne.com, has existed in at least some form since 2003, and Mary Beth has been a regular columnist with one publication or another from the age of 16. Her first book, Drink to the Lasses, was published in 2006. She currently teaches college, runs personal wine tastings, gives literary readings, and stares into the middle distance.

Category

Baseball Is Life