Thursday, June 12, 2014


Jimmy Fallon weighed the pros and cons of going to the World Cup the other night. As a “pro,” he acknowledged that soccer is the most popular sport in the world. The “con,” according to the folks at The Tonight Show, is that soccer is the 12th most popular sport in the US-- between Cornhole and Quidditch.

Pretty funny.

At least soccer’s US fanbase seems to be growing.

I’m assuming the number one sport on Jimmy’s fictional list of America’s favorites—if predicated on TV ratings-- would go to football (not to be confused with fútbol-- or búsketball or húckey). While it will probably forever be hailed as America’s national pastime, baseball appears to be slowly losing its audience.

Is it any wonder? The games take forever. And there are too many of them. And the lulls far outpace the action. The season is like a long, slow grind-- especially for those of us subjected every weekend from April through September to the grating radio pair of John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman (really? Suzyn? I just learned that. Even her name is annoying).

And that’s the professionals! Youth baseball is its own form of torture. I will admit that as the boys (and my son) have gotten older the pace of the games-- and my interest in them-- has picked up marginally. But there is still plenty of time to fill out there in the stands.

Fortunately, there are good moms on this year’s team so we share some laughs between attempts at lobbying all the Dads/coaches for the lesser of 6 innings OR 1.5 hours. It never works. Dads don’t always understand (or experience) the ripple effect of the missed bedtime.

One of our running gags is a preference for a particular ump— a cute high school senior who has a penchant for fixing his mask-flattened hair between innings in a very teen heartthrob-y way. Nothing creepy or salacious. No leering.

At last night’s game, the teenaged girl sitting behind me with her mom started giving our ump a hard time over some called strikes. “The ump sucks,” she yelled in what I assumed was support of her brother and his teammates.

I turned around, laughing, and asked her if she’d feel differently if she knew the ump was hubba-hubba handsome.

“That’s my son,” her mother said. Gah. Open mouth, insert foot.

As I rushed to find a way to make what I said not totally skeevy (it reads worse than it sounded in person), it quickly became clear that I had missed a swap at the plate-- the ump she was yelling at, this girl’s brother, was not in fact Mr. Tiger Beat.

Oddly enough, the mom seemed more disturbed by the suggestion that her daughter should find her own brother attractive than by my having commented on a teenager.

Still. Pretty awkward.

I’m telling you, baseball can’t end soon enough for me.

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