Coppola: Did You Ever See A Ballgame?

A friend of mine told me the other day: “Baseball is too slow, there is no action. Football has more action”. I like football, it’s great. I think it is the best game played in the non baseball season. I told my friend, he could borrow my stop watch the next time he watches a football game. I told him to start the clock when the ball is snapped and stop it when the play ends. That should be on average about five seconds. The next piece of action should commence in about 35 to 40 seconds.

A study conducted a few years ago by the Wall Street Journal concluded, that an average professional football game lasts three hours and 12 minutes, but if you add up the time when the ball is actually in play, the action amounts to about 11 minutes unless you count the dance after every play as action. 11 minutes?

An average of 17 minutes for replays is more than all the action. Add on an average of 100 commercials and well, you get the picture.

I will always remember my first baseball game. I was with my dad, who brought me to Ebbets Field to see his beloved Brooklyn Dodgers play the Cincinnati Reds. I remember the first sight of the light towers and the massive building rising up above the neighborhood around Bedford Avenue and walking through the dark cool tunnel, on a beautiful warm summer day and then having a burst of light hit me like a cloud from heaven.

And then, Color! The incredible green grass and amazing brown dirt of the infield, seeing the Dodger blue script with that red number in front.

I have been hooked ever since then.

More than sixty years later, I still get a rush when I approach a major league ballpark. The green grass and beautifully manicured fields.,standing in the bleachers, watching batters hit balls in batting practice and hearing the sound it makes a second or two later, always makes me feel like I am home.

The sights, sounds and smells of a ballpark are special to me. But then the most amazing thing happens, a ballgame.

Take me out to the ballgame where there is something happening non stop. Even between innings the players are catching and throwing. The action doesn’t have to be violent. You don’t have to be the Incredible Hulk to play it. We can see the faces of our heroes. You don’t have to wait a week to see your team play.

I rest my case.

The greatest sentence in this country is: “___ days till pitchers and catchers”. By the way, its now 54 days.

Editor’s Note:  William Coppola just completed his 40th year in the game of baseball. He has been a coach, instructor and advanced scout for numerous teams in Major League Baseball 

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