I want to learn about baseball. I've been able to crack basketball and football, but not baseball. What should I read? What should I watch? Who should I pay attention to?
I grew up without much exposure to popular U.S. sports--I played soccer and lacrosse, and I sailed competitively through high school. But I never picked up a football/basketball/baseball except once in a while in P. E.
I went to University of Maryland in the mid-90s, and my friends dragged me to the free basketball games in Cole Field House. I learned a ton about the game by watching it up close, and I really enjoyed the narratives that played out over the course of a season. I loved the anticipation we felt when Duke or Carolina was coming to town, and I learned a bunch by listening to my far-more knowledgeable roommates talk about the game. I fell in love with basketball.
Five years ago I decided I wanted to learn about football. I bought some reference books (ESPN Pro Football Encyclopedia
and NFL Record & Fact Book
), but what really resonated with me was John Feinstein's Next Man Up
), Hard Knocks
on HBO, and Inside the NFL
, also on HBO. Again, narratives pulled me in. 2007 opened with spygate, New England had a perfect season up to the Super Bowl, and David Tyree made an incredible catch against his helmet to set up the winning touchdown against the Pats. I fell in love with football.
So, I want to love baseball, but so far I haven't had much luck. I think I need to find a narrative. I read most of Feinstein's Living on the Black
, but it felt like a chore.
I've read this thread from 2008: Help me learn to love baseball
, and some of the suggestions look really good. (Watching Baseball Smarter
looks great, for example; so does Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball
.) But it's been four years, and maybe there's more to add to the list.
I think this incredible answer from cashman to a similar question about the NBA
is what got me thinking about baseball again.
- I have a limited budget, and I no longer have cable.
- I live in Greensboro, NC, so several minor league teams are close by, but the budget really is pretty slim. I can imagine spending up to $30 on tickets between now and mid-August. Maybe $50 if I can swing it.
- I'm considering spending $20 on the MLB Gameday Audio package
- I don't have a team, but because I'm from Maryland I'm partial to the Nationals and the Orioles. I have seen the Orioles play twice; one when I was a little kid at Memorial Stadium, and later in college at Camden Yards.
- I have a Netflix account (DVD + streaming)
- I have a reasonably zippy internet connection
- I respond well to homework. I like to understand things/solve problems.
- I don't know if this helps as guide, but: I really liked the analysis of Inside the NFL
, but I get bored/irritated with Greg Easterbrook's Tuesday Morning Quarterback
. Maybe the latter tries too hard to be clever and also seems too fragmented/stream-of-consciousness.
- This is a real shot in the dark, but just in case (please, please, please): I'm going bananas over the game Economies of Scale
). Is there anything like this for baseball? Where I could push buttons and look at a chart or two, without it becoming totally overwhelming? (I know nothing about economics, but I can keep up with Economies of Scale, and I feel like I'm getting something out of it.)
- I have a knowledgeable friend who says he'll sit with me on his porch with a cooler and a game on the radio once a week and answer my questions.
- I'm male and in my late thirties, if that matters.
- I really want to love this game.