Not everyone loves baseball.
Just recently, I found myself defending the sport to a group of non-believers.
It's like fishing, I said. You have to settle in and adapt to the slow rhythm of the game.
the swing or the look,
the umpire's call,
the return of the ball to the mound.
For long stretches of time, there may very well not be much excitement.
And that's okay, I explained. Those are the moments when you settle back in your seat, crack open a few roasted peanuts - or scoop up some garlic fries - and enjoy the warm sun on your face and the appreciative murmurs of the crowd as the game meanders along at its own pace.
^ This is what is commonly known as an obstructed view. I chose to pay no attention to that giant yellow foul marker, and concentrated on soaking up the sun instead.
But the payoff eventually comes, I insisted. Just as the fish will most certainly bite, sooner or later, so will a home run suddenly drive the crowd to their feet. Or a sustained rally will drum up a handful of runs in a single inning. Or a pitcher's mistakes will jam up the bases and force in runs. Or the score will teeter totter back and forth with sudden volatility and unpredictability.
Sometimes, it's possible for the game to end in a flash - a ninth inning walk-off - where the home team comes from behind to suddenly win the game. Which might be a bit like reeling in the fish that almost got away.
Baseball is a game of patience, I summarized. And for those who are willing to lean back and enjoy the ride, rewards of excitement and thrills are almost always forthcoming.
^ I might have come home with a sunburn but I have no regrets.
And today was proof positive, as I enjoyed a twenty-one run hitters' derby between the Texas Rangers and our hometown Mariners, that ended indeed in a walk-off win for Seattle.
An afternoon at the ballpark may not be everyone's cup of tea, but today, it felt pretty good to me.