The First Game of the Season (for me)
After deciding I would try to become a baseball fan this season, I figured the next step would be choosing a team to follow. I narrowed the choice down to three: Houston Astros since I live in Houston, Texas Rangers since I used to live in DFW, and Boston Red Sox because #jgbosox inspired me to start #neenermlb. As this experiment relies heavily on people supporting me, I asked Twitter:
I was leaning towards the Texas Rangers since I have more friends in DFW and this poll confirmed it. I set my ESPN app to send me Rangers alerts and looked up their schedule. My brain knew there are 162 games each season but my brain didn’t calculate how often the games would occur.
THAT’S A LOT OF BASEBALL. If they’re lucky, baseball players get one day off a week?! I know baseball isn’t as high impact on athletes’ bodies as football or hockey, but even I get a two-day weekend. But I don’t get paid a million dollars to do what I do, so I guess there’s a few differences between us. How do the fans keep up with this schedule?
As a marching band nerd that went to high school football games every Friday night, only watching a little bit of a game and not watching every game was a new way of thinking for me. But it makes sense. And 2 innings every now and then sounds doable. Since I had already missed the first three games, I decided to tune in Thursday night as the Rangers played the Los Angeles Angels.
It was the first test of my commitment to baseball.
First, I misread the schedule and thought the game started at 9:30 p.m. so I slightly panicked when I started seeing Rangers tweets rolling in. (The game started at 9:05 p.m.) I figured I could find a video or audio stream easily, but I quickly realized I didn’t know where to start. @drivingrl sent me a link to the Texas Rangers Radio Network, but it took me several minutes of talk radio to notice that 105.3 The Fan wasn’t going to stream the game online.
Unfortunately, there are no Houston affiliates in the network so I couldn’t listen to it over the AM/FM radio either. Two days earlier, Comcast recently offered me a cable TV package with higher internet speeds for the same price I was paying, so I checked to see which channels they gave me. 24 SD channels. None of them Fox Sports. (What the heck am I going to do with 24 SD channels?)
When it finally came down to it, I signed up for a month of MLB At Bat, which is only $2.99 per month. Turns out, it’s a pretty neat app which not only provides audio of all the games, but all sorts of stats that I didn’t complete understand. By the time I tuned in, it was 10:00 p.m. and the bottom of the 3rd.
Listening to the game as a Rangers fan-in-training had its many challenges. Namely, I didn’t know most of the players’ names and the teams were both blue and red. I was probably confused for a solid hour. I let the audio play as I typed up my first #neenermlb blog post, then tried finding a video stream. A friend shared his MLB.TV account with me but due to blackout restrictions, I still couldn’t watch the game. It wasn’t until 11:30 p.m. that I found strikeout.co (proceed at your own risk!) and was able to start putting names to faces. Getting to watch the game was a lot different than simply listening to it! I still liked having the MLB At App show me the strikeout zone and stats though. I got caught up with it all and the next thing I knew, it was past midnight and I couldn’t sleep until I knew how the game ended.
By the time all was said and done, the Rangers lost, 3–4, and I only got four hours of sleep that night, but I had a good time despite all the technical difficulties and confusion. Not a bad start towards becoming a baseball fan, I think.