Crash Bag, Vol. 56: The Chapel Hill Dirty Foots

Guys, there’s playoff baseball today. PLAYOFF BASEBALL TODAY. Let’s do this thing.

@magoplasma: “how do I get my boyfriend to love baseball. Or even like it?”

It’s not often that I’m able to dispense relationship advice about a problem I myself have handled successfully. This may be the first such situation I’ve ever encountered.

I’m currently engaged to be married to someone who actively disliked baseball before we started dating, and now plays in two fantasy leagues and wears a Roy Halladay t-shirt from time to time. So I asked Kate, the Long-Suffering Fiancee, how she came to be even the casual baseball fan she is now, in the hope it might help young Magoplasma. Here’s what she said:

  • Stockholm syndrome. We’d been dating for about six years before KTLSF started to come around on baseball, which, in retrospect, must have been excruciating. Because I’m sure there are people who put on internet personas, but I’m not one of them–what you read here and on my Twitter feed is pretty much who I am. I think about baseball constantly. I write about baseball constantly. I think about writing about baseball constantly. I talk about baseball and talk about writing about baseball constantly. Eventually, I guess, KTLSF’s resolve had been weakened and she’d absorbed enough information that eventually it happened.
  • Get him into the tactics. KTLSF says this: “Watching a game if you don’t know the strategy behind it is incredibly boring. To me, there’s no intrinsic interest in a baseball game happening. But once I realized that there’s a rhyme and a reason to players’ roles and how the pitcher and catcher interact, that’s when it got interesting–when I started looking at it like a chess match.”
  • Use it to tell a story. I’ve been obsessed with baseball for 20 years, and the stories and oddities that come along with individual players are still my favorite part. Narrative isn’t how I evaluate baseball, but it’s why I like it. So if you catch yourself watching a Phillies-Marlins game with your boyfriend, tell him about the Marlins’ despicable owner, or Jose Fernandez‘s amazing personal history. Or just gawk and laugh at Antonio Bastardo‘s enormous butt–you don’t have to know a ton about the game, or even like it that much, to appreciate an interesting story.
  • Use the college game. When I asked KTLSF what the tipping point was, she said it was around when South Carolina was in the College World Series in 2010. She’s always been a huge football fan, and USC’s other teams have always been of interest to her. So when, for the first time, a team she had a reason to be emotionally attached to showed up on the national stage. Now, I know that you, Magoplasma, are a fan of the Chapel Hill Dirty Foots, and if your boyfriend is at all interested in that school’s other athletic programs, he might be intrigued to find out that those selfsame Dirty Foots are ranked No. 1 in the country in baseball (a subject that will be discussed in more depth later in this post), and among their ranks is third baseman Colin Moran, who may go first overall in next week’s draft. So if the BF is at all interested in Tar Heel basketball or football, make him watch some of the NCAA tournament with you.

So knowing nothing about your boyfriend, that’s the best advice I can give. Continue reading…