Tonawanda News

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June 25, 2014

DUVALL: Patience, in baseball as in life, is a virtue

Tonawanda News — They say patience is a virtue. Nowhere is that more evident than in the game of baseball. 

Fans laze their way through the myriad twists and turns, ups and downs of a six month, 162-game schedule. There’s no time limit in baseball, you just play until 27 outs have been logged — and if 27 outs per side doesn’t do the job you keep going in threes until it does.

I am not what most people would consider a patient person, which is why it’s ironic the older I get the more I love this game. 

I played Little League as a kid. I play recreational softball now. There are many reasons why I never advanced any farther in the game — the most obvious being I’m really just not that good at it — but if I had to pinpoint one, it’s my general lack of patience. When I was a kid I would swing at just about anything. More often than not I’d whiff on a pitch over my head and strike out or hit a wimpy little popup that didn’t leave the infield. Coaches would tell me time and again to be more selective, to “wait for your pitch,” as the baseball cliche goes.

I’ve gotten a little better as an adult not looking like an idiot swinging a bat, though softball makes it infinitely harder because that meatball seems like it’s hanging up there for days, taunting you to swing even if it’s a foot off the plate.

Maybe it’s the inverse response to everything else in life, which seems only to get faster. Baseball’s languid pose is comforting to me.

It’s why a seemingly innocuous email from the Associated Press caught me off guard.

For as long as reporters have covered baseball games for the AP there was a standard. Every game was covered by a reporter who would file three things: A news bulletin that moves immediately after the game is over saying who won and the most basic 100-word write-thru. A short time later that is followed by a more in-depth, 300-word version. An hour later, newspapers the world over were proffered a 600-word story that fully described the game.

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