Many people actually watch baseball (though not as many as there used to be), which amazes me. Have you ever tried to watch a baseball game with someone who knows nothing about sports, like your girlfriend? Mine can appreciate, at least for five minutes, the balletic grace of basketball or soccer, the raw violence of football, even the ebb and flow of hockey, but when baseball comes on the channel is changed. Immediately.
But there is one beautiful thing about baseball, and it isn’t the Cartesian symmetry of the diamond. Baseball playing fields aren’t even symmetrical, actually, except in the ugliest parks. Perhaps the fact that it’s played in the summer?
It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone.
Giamatti doth protest too much, methinks.
No, the beautiful thing about baseball is that it’s transparent to statistical analysis. This is fortunate, because it means you don’t have to watch baseball to understand it. All you have to do is read the box scores.