BOSTON (CBS) – The 2015 Major League Baseball season is just over a week old, and already the pace of play initiatives are having an impact. The games have been on average eight minutes faster than last year, which may not seem like much, but it’s progress nonetheless that should be applauded.
No sport asks as much from the fans as baseball. Your favorite football team plays once a week, while basketball and hockey are once every couple of days. If you’re into golf and tennis you really only have to get invested once every couple of months when the majors roll around.
Baseball needs your undivided attention for 162 games, some of which can last upwards of seven hours as we saw Friday night in the Bronx.
In this microwave society where messages are delivered in 140 characters or less, and where Kentucky Fried Chicken is such a mouthful that it’s shortened to KFC, three-plus hours of television consumption for a slow moving sport like baseball — for 162 days a year! — is asking too much.
Baseball is a demanding sport, both for the players and the fans — this article is devoted to the latter. I’ve come up with 7 ways to make watching baseball more enjoyable in the modern age.
1. Don’t Watch Every Game
You’ve got to pick your spots. There’s no way you can maintain a fulfilling life watching 162 games of hardball annually, so be selective. Pick a rivalry series and be all-in, and turn it off when the Phillies come to town. While we’re at it, you can afford to miss the series with the Astros too. Another good rule of thumb: never watch the fifth starter.
If you’re one of those seam heads that simply can’t miss a game, or a series or two, DVRing is your best bet. When you’re able to fast forward through commercials you can turn a three-hour game into a sub-two contest real fast.
3. Background Noise
As previously stated, it’s probably not a good thing to watch every single baseball game of the season. It’s not possible to maintain a healthy marriage and a healthy body — while still being effective at the workplace — when at least one-eighth of your day is dedicated to a baseball game. So while you’re getting dinner ready, or folding laundry, have the game on in the background. You’ll still get the gist of it. If for some reason you get up from your seat and miss something important, just do what I do…
4. Fill In The Blanks On Twitter
There’s no better social medium for sports fans than Twitter. Did you miss that bench clearing brawl while helping with the kid’s math homework? Log on to Twitter. There’s probably a Vine of the fight by now with a blog post to boot. Follow 10 beat writers who cover your team and you’ll never miss an update. Follow some national and out-of-town writers too for more perspective. That’s never a bad thing.
5. Join A Fantasy League
What better way to stay invested in watching baseball than joining a fantasy league? Is the game out of hand in the fifth inning? You’ll probably stay awake for a few extra innings to see that utility infielder you picked up on the waiver wire get an at-bat. When there’s a game within the game, an element that fantasy sports provides, it’s scientifically proven to hold your interest.
(I made up that last part, but it’s probably true)
6. Place A Bet
Sort of like the last suggestion, but with much more at stake. It’s post All-Star Break and your team is in the tank. Place a friendly $100 wager and you’ll forget all about your best player on the 60-day disabled list.
7. Turn It Into A Drinking Game
…a responsible drinking game of course, for adults over the age of 21! Pace of play got you down? Take a swig every time the pitcher steps off the rubber, or throws over to first. Pitching change? Take a shot! You’ll have a mid-April interleague game feel like a Game 7 in no time.