Lindy West hates baseball. But she's going to try to and become a fan, and she'll be documenting that process here in a semi-regular column called "I Love Balls." Hopefully she'll learn to love America's pastime like a best-case-scenario arranged marriage.
Okay. I think I might be starting to get it. I went to a Dodgers game on Wednesday night (v. the Braves). Dodger Stadium is beautiful! The nighttime air is one of the best things about LA. And there's something so wholesome and old-timey about a bunch of people from the same community gathering to Do An Activity. I don't go to church and I'm bored of bars, so I really don't have anything in my life that comes close to that. So sitting with a bunch of my neighbors in the heart of my city, collectively and genuinely rooting for a bunch of people playing a game to the dulcet tones of "Now That's What I Call Calliope Jams: Vol. 23"? That's a pretty adorable feeling.
Also, watching something unfold live—albeit very, very slowly (for me, baseball still hasn't conquered its boring problem)—is so satisfying! I know how it feels when I run into celebrities here in LA (I saw Kato Kaelin at Pinkberry!!!), so I can imagine, once you get to know all the players, that it's really fun to get to sit there and watch your favorites do their thing in the flesh. A man stole a base! Another man hit a home run! Right there in front of me! Thanks to beer, I did manage to ease into the slow pace to a certain degree. It's kind of lovely to have some enforced quietude for a few hours. There's something almost medieval about it—like, we put a bunch of elite athletes in a big bowl and make them fight while we yell at them. Everything else in my life is so digital and disconnected from other humans. I think the ritual of baseball is something I'll eventually be able to connect with.
1. WHERE ARE THE FUCKING CRACKERJACKS? We had to get peanuts instead because there were no crackerjacks to be found. I know this will definitely be the most controversial thing I say all week, but peanuts are bullshit. You know what peanuts are? The worst part about crackerjacks!!! I mean, I ate the peanuts, and they tasted good with my $11 beer. But still. False advertising, baseball song.
2. How are people not constantly getting murdered by fly balls? Those things are terrifying. Why would you take a baby to a place infested with flying baby-squishers? If a fly ball ever came toward me I would chloroform the person next to me and use them as a human shield.
3. Uniforms. Hey, how about NOT white v. light gray?
Other than those three things, I loved it. I think we're off to a good start, baseball. I think my next project will be to get to know all the Dodgers individually. For instance, I learned from ye olde jumbotron that 3rd baseman Jerry Hairston is the 3rd generation in his family to play major league baseball. If I remember correctly, it was grandpa, dad, uncle, and Jerry. That is hella weird, you guys! Baseball is your family business? When Jerry was 15, was he like, "But daaaaaaaad! I wanna make yarn for a living!" "Sorry, son. You are going to be a professional guy-who-plays-a-game, or you are NO SON OF MINE."
Oh, and the Dodgers lost. Luckily there are 4,517 more games left this season.