Spring days spent listening to the Mets on the radio
One fantastic aspect of my new job is that I sit in the sort of office where they really don’t mind if you wear earphones all day. Even better, half the people there already do, so as the new boy I don’t feel out-of-place plugging myself in and letting the day whiz by.
This has enabled my MLB subscription to really come into its own. As part of the package, there is full access to every radio broadcast of every game. So, over the past few weeks my days have quite often been soundtracked by the sounds of Mets games from the night before, relayed by Howie Rose and Wayne Hagin on New York’s WFAN.
This has meant that I have had to be extra careful with my internet activity, in order to avoid any spoilers, but this has been a small price to pay for being paid to listen to sport. (I hasten to add at this point, that I have of course been working very, very hard at the same time).
To make this even better, my team, the New York Mets, have started their season surprisingly, amazingly, well. I was expecting to perhaps listen to bits and pieces of their games, hear them lose, and then move on to something else. Instead, I’ve heard win after win. I feel a little funny typing that – it’s bound to curse them.
Today was one of the best games to listen to, going from one that I could have easily given up on (and may well have done if I was at home), to one I couldn’t tear myself away from. At the start of the eighth inning the Mets were 6-1 down. Incredibly, by the end of that very same inning they were 8-6 ahead, and would go on to win by the same score.
Beyond the inevitable excitement and disbelief, it highlighted two things for me.
One, the real beauty of sport is in the improbable. 95 per cent of the time a team isn’t going to turn around a game like that. The fact that 5 per cent of the time they do is what keeps us enthralled and what keeps us watching even the most terrible game or most terrible team, just in case things turn around. We are capable of going weeks, months, years without reward, all in the hope that something wonderful might happen one day to our team. To enjoy sport, at heart you must be the eternal optimist.
Second, today showed me yet again how wonderful it is to experience the longer forms of sport, such as baseball and cricket, through radio. You can get on with other things while it plays in the background. You can pick up on the ebb and flow. You can get to know the commentators as well as the players. It is just a lovely way to spend a few hours, especially when you then get the win.