As a friend of mine put it, “Posts merely announcing something are pretty lame,” so before I announce tomorrow’s event, let me explain why I will NOT be live-blogging any of tomorrow’s baseball games:
It’s a constant source of guilt for me that I don’t like baseball more, but I can’t help it: To me, the games are either not important enough to be interesting (98% of the regular season), or too important to be meaningful (100% of the playoffs). That said, I still dabble in baseball analysis myself, and I certainly understand the statistical appeal: the data-sets are huge, the variables are mostly independent, and—even in a post-Moneyball world—the screw-ups are ample.
I have many baseball-loving friends, and talking to them about this subject almost always goes like this exchange from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (with appropriate substitutions, and minus the sexual undertones):
[Every Baseball Fan Ever]: Yeah.
[Me]: You seriously [watch baseball] for fun?
[Fan]: Well, not [minor leagues] or anything, but yeah. Don’t you?
[Me]: Actually, [no leagues] is more my specialty. I’m an avid [non-baseball watcher].
[Fan]: You’re kidding, right? I mean, you know how to [watch baseball]..
[Me]: Well, I took the class.. [Baseball] and [I] are, like .. un-mixy things.
[Fan]: It’s just because you haven’t had a good experience yet. You can have the best time [watching baseball]. It’s not about getting somewhere. You have to take your time. Forget about everything. Just.. relax. Let it wash over you. The air.. motion.. Just, let it roll.
[Me]: We are talking about [baseball], right?
I also don’t entirely believe the hype about it being such an integral part of our national heritage, and I think that perception today has been influenced heavily by nostalgia from influential people like George Will and Ken Burns, and I posted a graph somewhat supportive of that a while back:
Note also that the NFL’s relative popularity vs. MLB is nothing new. Here is a year-by-year plot showing the World Series ratings vs. Super Bowl ratings:
Since it’s inception, the Super Bowl has beaten even the highest-rated World Series game every single year (recently, it has even been beating the entire series combined for total viewers).
OK, so with that out of the way: Once again, I’ll be live-blogging NFL Sunday from 10am until the final whistle tomorrow—now powered by NFL Sunday Ticket! Here’s the explanation, and here’s last week’s end product.