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The Sports Thread


#1166

Which is kind of my point. The response is somewhat what you are used to and of course within limits, football fans still love a 5-4 thriller more than a 0-0 borefest, all sports just have bad games.

What interested me is in rugby there’s a certain obsession with the ruling bodies that a high scoring game is always best but as I watch at home my mother in law will sit and watch. All she cares about, as someone just watching the sport for the first time, is if it’s close, preferably with the lead changing hands 12-9 is far preferable for her to 48-15. If one team runs in 5 great tries and romps ahead she just walks away.

At completely different ends of scoring that’s probably something basketball and soccer share to a degree. The one positive of the low scoring element is the games are usually in the balance, one team completely romping away with it is relatively rare.

I don’t want to defend soccer too much as I often find it boring. It’s a sport very resistant to change because it’s so huge globally but if they put me in charge I’d probably make the goals bigger to provide bigger scores which is sacrilege to most. I just think in truth most of the resistance to certain sports is habit rather than science and I think Jim’s argument is those habits can change, albeit slowly.


#1167

Baseball survives.

The NFL will fade, soccer will grow (it’s inevitable) and there will still be hockey.

What it boils down to is there is nothing as emotionally satisfying as whacking a hard-thrown ball with a stick. It’s primal.


#1168

Sorry but baseball is hosed. It’s for old men and white people. It’s at its lowest popularity ever, and gambling won’t save it.


#1169

I see it more as with the current anti-Hispanic/immigrant fervor going on - and major changes in countries that used to be rich in farm players - that this is temporary. We had to have Jackie Robinson break a color barrier, and that was not that long ago. I see the same thing with folks from the Dominican, Cuba, Venezuela and so forth. There is a marked problem with Japanese players, and they might still be the second mos active baseball market. The culture of baseball ownership certainly has to change, but the game, man! The Game! Not softball, either!


#1170

I never got the appeal of baseball. You hit a ball, then you run in a tiny circle. That is it.

Football for me can be boring, but the fun is that it can be so creative. When a game really flows it is magic.


#1171

There are boring 1-0 matches and there are thrillers. The thing is when a team scores in football it is special, it is like an orgasm. In a game like basketball scoring is not really exciting to me because they’re scoring all the time.


#1172

Baseball isn’t about the hitting, it’s about the pitching. Watching one guy try to throw past some of the best hitters on the planet is pretty interesting. But then you’re watching a sport where you don’t want anything to happen. In big games just one pitchers inning can be a thrilling, grueling, agonizing, 15 minute process.

Basketball isn’t about the constant scoring, it’s about the ebb and flow of the game. When teams go on runs, when the lead changes dramatically. And when it’s close to the end every score matters. Basketball is consistently brilliant TV, and has the most interesting athletes.


#1173

I guess it is mostly about what you’re used to. I’ve tried watching basketball, I respect the physical feats but to me it just isn’t as thrilling as a football match can be, even if it ends in 0-0.

My favorite sport to watch is road cycling. It’s a filthy sport with all the doping but it’s pure poetry when they’re slaving up the French Alps and the helicopter cameraman zooms out and shows the glorious landscape. I remember one time the cameraman got distracted by an eagle and kept filming the eagle instead, for like a few minutes.


#1174

Not the best advert for cycling - “oh look, a birdie!”


#1175

That’s a good point…:smile: It might have been after they had crossed the finish. It’s true in road cycling for me at least the environment is all important.


#1176

That’s fair but I’m not debating personal preference, just why large swaths of people may not like something if they’re not conditioned to it.


#1177

Baseball is qualitatively different when playing (or any similar game), watching live and close, watching live and far away, and watching whatever might be presented on television. I grew up envisioning games from radio, a skill going sadly obsolete. Understanding the basics is simple enough. There are rules, one learns them. Now let’s forget playing or watching on TV and think of watching from, say, a middle distance. Like an okay-ish seat in the stands. Now we see the full display of the game. How the players position themselves from clues from their manager or knowledge of how to be where the ball might most likely be hit. What’s happening in the dugout? Calm? Anger? Calling in a relief pitcher? Who’s on first? The game changes with every pitch. Take a good guess where the strike zone might be from any given angle from any given seat. What’s the mood in the crowd? Happy? Hostile? Surly? Hungry? Wet? Hot?

Intermittent reinforcement works best. Too many rewards (basketball) can become blasé. Too few (hockey, soccer) and frustration mounts. In baseball, there can be no ties, at the very least! I’ve seen some incredibly long games where basically the third assistant trainer is pitching (memorable one St. Louis v. Cubs, i think, 12-13 hours and an end score of 24-22, and I forget who might have won). All these years of baseball, there’s still stuff one has never seen before. Not long ago a bat got hung up in some new netting (in Houston? Maybe?) and the game had to be paused as it was in such a position to be a risk if it fell. Bizarre stuff.

And it’s physical. Maybe not the days of needing to take two years off due to a full-tilt collision, but it’s still running around on the grass - and that’s always dangerous!


#1178

I agree, it’s mostly about what we’re conditioned to. If lots of kids play football though and people start promoting it heavily younger generations may start to get a liking for it, but older people are settled in their ways and they’re probably not going to like it all of a sudden.


#1179

£50 says we have the same conversation in 4 years


#1180

This has been mooted for a while, but is still a little surprising.

Red Bull have been ragging on Renault for years now, but they’re still doing well enough with them to be running comfortably third in the championship. Honda powered Toro Rosso are considerably lower. Their power and reliability this year, compared to all their time with McLaren, does seem improved, but they’ve still had complete failures and I don’t think Red Bull can rely on their chassis design to totally compensate for the engine’s deficiencies.

But this is just a two year deal and probably a holding pattern to kill time until Aston Martin buy the team out and do their own engines under the next set of regulations in 2021.


#1181

Many years ago I had a friend who was a huge Rugby (league) fan, and he claimed that it was the low scoring rate in soccer that led to the kind of spectator violence that you never really got in rugby.

His theory was that your tension builds up and up, and when a try/goal is scored it releases. This happens every few minutes in rugby; in soccer it happens rarely and might never happen all game, so you’ve got all this unspent, wound-up tension that comes out in fights after the match.

It might be complete BS, but I can see the sense in it.


#1182

We used to call it “rounders” at school. It was a girls’ game.


#1183

This must be the oldest UK-US sporting putdown in the book (you either pick this or Netball and Basketball).

But I actually enjoyed playing both those games and remember wishing we could actually play proper basketball at school, as it was just starting to get a bit popular in the UK at the time.

We had to content ourselves with NBA Jam on the megadrive.


#1184

I got to do basketball a bit at school and once you realise there’s no chance of you dunking, it loses some of its appeal.

I did bloody love rounders though. I was never all that enamoured with games and PE, but I would have done rounders every week whatever the weather if I could.


#1185

I know, and it’s completely unjustified considering that baseball started life as an English game played by men. I am suitably contrite :cry: