Since beginning this blog in 2005 I've resisted making it single focus. Every week (in the early years it was more often) I write about whatever strike my fancy.
Over the years themes have emerged: the future of libraries; the future of journalism; film reviews; travel reports; political musings (fortunately those faded out around 2009). But there's no pre-determined theme.
That changes now. Today is Opening Day of the 2014 baseball season. Bay Area fans know that the Giants won 9-8 against Arizona, and the A's lost 2-0 to Cleveland. I marked the day by watching the "First Inning" of Ken Burns's majestic documentary Baseball and then tuning into the final innings of both Bay Area games on the At Bat app (after which point I rounded the evening by listening to the end of the Seattle's 10-3 triumph over the absurdly named Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.)
I love the At Bat app. I can imagine the scene at any Major League ballpark, listening to the sizzle and sounds that fill the evening. If the game is a blowout then the announcers become entertaining to fill the void. If the game is taut and tense you feel it. The app always links to the radio announcers from both teams--and sometimes also to Spanish language broadcasts. Commercials are part of the package, so you get a flavor of the regions that both teams call home. After listening to enough games from a given team you'll know the region's grocery stores, car dealerships and other identifying markers. Sometimes I'm in the mood for this--it's anthropology in your ears. But when not in the mood I switch to another game and listen to live action, avoiding commercials on my phone just like I do on TV.
For me the game is the thing--any game will do. Yes, I follow the A's and Giants--and after enough years in Oakland I'll choose the A's over the Giants when it comes down to it. (This despite the A's residence in the American League, home of the nonsensical designated hitter rule.) But I would be just as happy listening to a Brewers vs. Rockies game even though I have no connection to Milwaukee or Colorado.
So. For this season I'll pick at least one game a week that I stumble across randomly, and analyze it on the blog. Posts may focus on a particular play, the overall strategy, the crazy announcers, a humorous ad or something else. Generally speaking I catch only parts of games, so reporting on a complete game will be rare (this may change as the season's contours take shape.) I'll listen to whatever game strikes my fancy and describe my impressions as the season marches on. Just like baseball games some posts will be short and others long.
This does not preclude me from writing about other topics, of course. But in the past year or so I've often been regurgitating themes or scrambling to file a film review just to meet my quota of one post per week. Even so I had no intention of abandoning the blog. I knew that renewed vitality would emerge.
And so it has. Baseball is the best sport we have because there is no time clock, and anything can change right up to the last pitch. I enjoy other sports too, but nothing else offers the combination of strategy; pacing; reflection; and humility as baseball. There's a timelessness to baseball paired with a willingness to innovate. This season will be especially interesting in that regard, with expanded instant replay capabilities.
Go ahead then. Play ball.