Friday, April 24, 2009

The Beard Wins All

A quick survey of Twitter's redsox tag a few minutes after the game ended reveals the power of a rallying cry: a good half of the hundreds of Tweets (including my own submission) had some variation of "Yoooooouk!"

I was thinking earlier today about how while baseball has a rep as a slow, boring game that can't compete with timed sports for consistently-sized doses of action, it does have one major action-oriented advantage: until the last out is recorded, it's impossible to predict who will win. There are qualifications, of course: baseball blowouts occasionally swing the other way, a football team may have an untimely fumble or a coach who can't manage the clock, but you're still far more likely to see a team dribble or kneel out the game's allotted time than you will see a closer get three tension-free outs.

Really, when you come right down to it, I think baseball has the advantage in excitement for tight wins: watching the clock tick down in the hands of experienced managers bleeds the tension out slowly. Victory comes with less risk and thus less of a endorphin-flooding reward. In baseball, however, every pitch is a risk, every out a hard-fought battle for survival that may mean nothing or everything in the next few minutes. The anticipation hangs on endlessly, because there's truly no way of knowing how things will end. Will the next batter bring the break the game needs to finish, or will he go down in defeat with the others? You watch and hope and wait, and sometimes, like Kevin Youkilis did tonight, the batter comes through and we get to go home happy.