diversion is about America’s greatest game

(and some lovely writing)

I’d never heard of Jordan Ellenberg (a professor of mathematics at the University of Wisconsin) before reading a lovely little piece he wrote on Slate, but I will try to pay enough attention hereafter you be aware of when his book (How Not To Be Wrong) comes out. Turns out the guy (a math prof) can write. Well. And that he has an 8-year old son who loves baseball. Hence, Why Kids Love Baseball, from a couple of weeks ago.

Read it today, before watching very large men run into, over, and through each other. Money quote:

My son, before age 7, was willing to watch any sporting event with me, in a distracted, OK-daddy-is-there-going-to-be-ice-cream-at-this-thing fashion. And then, suddenly, baseball kicked in. He saw how it worked and he was hooked.

Love the ice cream hook. Love that he doesn’t try to explain why he thinks (some) kids (his kid) love baseball, other than offering an unexplored theory based on long evolution from a kids game, but it’s right there: his son “saw how it worked and he was hooked”. An 8 year old can see for himself how it works, especially on 8 year old with a season of Little League behind him. It’s a slow game in which people stand still for long periods, so even a kid can figure out what’s going on.

Leave an 8 year old in front of a television (worse, in a stadium) with 22 football players who spend more time in those little circle thingies than they do running into, over, and through each other, while 6 or 12 guys in stripes blow whistles and wave their arms around pretty much all the time, then ask if the kid can see how football works. Kids might like to spend time with their parents watching football because they want to hang with their parents (or if there is ice cream involved), but I think football fans take more molding than baseball fans. Or maybe that’s just me. And Professor Ellenberg.

Nice piece. Worth 2 minutes of your time.

Meanwhile, there is other baseball news, as I am sure you all know. We are about 14 weeks from pitchers and catchers reporting for spring training. (February 12 and 15 for 2 teams; other team schedules to be posted here soon.) Anybody know of any other baseball news?

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