Susan is a New York Yankees fan; she was born in the Bronx, where the team plays. And right now they are in the World Series, playing against the reigning champions, the Philadelphia Phillies. As I write this, the Yanks are leading by three games to two in the series, and so need just one more win to win the series, which we hope will come in tomorrow night's game at Yankee Stadium.
I say "we" because, in the spirit of romance and partnership, I decided to take an interest by watching the deciding game in the Yanks' previous series against the Los Angeles Angels. And blow me down if it didn't get me hooked. So hooked, in fact, that I signed up for ESPN so I could watch it live rather than the minute or so behind I was getting with the streamed broadcast. And we've been watching the games together three thousand miles apart, by phoning as the game starts and hanging up shortly after it ends.
Baseball's exciting stuff, not at all like the borefest that is cricket, which many people on this side of the Atlantic imagine it resembles. It is complex and fast-paced-- to the extent that I often am unable to keep up with what has just happened and have to wait for an explanation from the commentators or from Susan, or whoever might happen to be in the room with her as she also falls behind occasionally-- and has one hell of a lot of specific terms which I will have to learn to keep following it. For instance, it's damn hard for me so far deciding just what's a strike and what's a ball, sometimes, although I'm already getting better and was able for instance to laugh right on cue when one poor opposition player started jogging to first base after only three instead of the required four balls, and before Susan had caught on. I have even begun screaming in delight when a Yankees player unexpectedly reaches base or more expectedly scores a run, or when a Phillies player drops the ball or misses a catch. I still fall behind reality a lot though (nothing new there, I suppose, but watching football it rarely happens. And by football I mean football, not gridiron: the clue is in the word "foot"). I've also started being abusively sarcastic about Phillies fans and their silly towel-waving. In short, I'm having a great time and have discovered a new sporting love. Now I just have to decide which player I want on the back of the shirt Susan's going to buy me. At the moment I think Joba Chamberlain is in the lead, because he is closer to my own body shape than any sporting hero I have ever seen. Which is another thing I love about baseball: some of those athletes look decidedly unathletic and could never in a million years cut it in any other sporting discipline.
Of course, Susan's end of the deal is to return the compliment when she moves over here, and watch and try to learn football. I can't wait to teach her the offside rule...