It was October 2014. I was not yet your friendly, bearded Book Riot contributor. American football was kicking off, as usual. What was surprising, however, was baseball. My hometown team, the Kansas City Royals, were in the playoffs. They were winning. The games were heated and intense. We even went to the World Series.
For most of my life, I’ve been a lukewarm baseball fan. I’ve been to Royals games through the years, sure. I’ve watched a game on TV occasionally when nothing else was on. That was about it. I didn’t get into them like I did with Kansas City Chiefs football. Then came 2015 and a World Series birth, a championship that we almost won. Game seven ended with a tying run at third base.
The new season has begun and the Royals are playing well. We’ve played well in previous years, but now I’m watching nearly every game. What has changed? I’ve discovered I can easily read a book while watching KC’s Boys in Blue on the television.
I was devouring David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks as the Royals squeezed out an AL Wildcard win over Oakland in 12 innings. As the Royals swept up Anaheim in the ALDS, I spelunked through Robin Sloan’s typographical quest: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore.
As the Royals charged ahead into the ALCS against Baltimore, my heart shuttered both from the drama of the games and Lauren’s Beukes’ Broken Monsters. Finally, the Royals entered the World Series for the first time in 29 years. As they battled Madison Bumgarner and the San Francisco Giants, I enjoyed Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl and Absolute Sandman Volume 2 by Neil Gaiman and a myriad of fine artists. I also yelled at Joe Buck repeatedly.
Now some may wonder how much of a fan I am if I’m reading during the game. Well, it’s pretty easy to hear the difference between a ball smacking a glove and a bat cracking. While there are plenty of fun or intense moments in baseball, the quiet times are more numerous, especially if a game devolves into a pitching battle. When the game gets intense, close, or the offense really starts cranking, I just set the book down.
I’m not the first person to discover that baseball’s patient pacing lends itself to reading. In some of the Boston Red Sox’ more recent World Series appearances, a certain prolific author could be spotted in the stands with a book in hand:
Some may say that I’m not really giving the game my attention because of the book. Others would argue for the inverse. Personally, just find I’m doing two things I enjoy at the same time. And I’m falling in love with “America’s Pastime.”
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