I love baseball. I love watching the game. I love movies about baseball - The Natural, Bull Durham, Field of Dreams, Eight Men Out. I enjoy reading great writing about baseball, such as Thomas Boswell's seminal works like Why Time Begins on Opening Day. I love baseball for its metaphorical qualities, its intrigue and its elegance. [From Bull Durham: "This is a simple game - you throw the ball, you hit the ball, you catch the ball."]
Unfortunately for me, I live in Scotland. The new baseball season may have just begun, but it's still snowing here, off and on. Try watching baseball on TV in Scotland without a satellite dish - you can't do it. You can sort of follow games via the internet, but even that's less than simple. Why? Because the team I support, the San Diego Padres, are eight hours away in time zones. Even when they start an early afternoon game at home, it's long past midnight here before that finishes.
If any Americans are reading this, perhaps they can settle something that's been nagging me - is it my imagination or are the Padres a stunningly uncool team to follow? Not that it makes any difference to me, I'm perfectly happy to support a team that's the baseball equivalent of Millwall. Hell, I've been following the fortunes of Scunthorpe for twenty years and they're not exactly the epitome of cool.
One day I hope to get back to San Diego and see the new home of the Padres. Last time I was there you had to get a taxi out to a stadium that seemed to be in the middle of nowhere. Now the team has shifted into town, getting to a game should be much easier. Anyway, for what it's worth - go Padres!